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Venezuela’s political crisis escalates amid Maduro’s border blockade

Millions of Venezuelans marching in May 2017 during the We Are Millions march. Many demonstrations have followed after Nicolás Maduro’s and Juan Guaidó’s clash for power since early 2018. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Jared Hameloth
News Editor

Since Nicolás Maduro’s election in 2013, the country as been through many stages in its political process, the latest of which is Maduro and the Venezuelan military blocking foreign aid at the border.

According to the BBC, Juan Guaidó, the leader of the National Assembly, declared that Maduro’s presidency was illegitimate, and claimed the presidency for himself. There has been claims of a rigged polls ever since his reelection in 2018, and many consider Maduro a dictator similar to Hugo Chávez. Over 50 countries have recognized Guaidó’s claim of power, including the U.S.

Because of the economic crisis in Venezuela with inflation rising, many can’t afford basic items to survive. Juan Guaidó and the opposition party promised that foreign aid from the Brazilian and Colombian borders would arrive Saturday, Feb. 23. The aid was never allowed into the country; to show that he still remains in control, Maduro closed those borders and told the state’s military to make sure no aid passed through.

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Most of the country’s military remains loyal to Maduro’s rule, but some have defected. Guaidó has said that defectors will receive amnesty, but only a small number has dared to go against Maduro for fear of imprisonment or torture.

On Saturday, civilians attempted to cross the border to get the aid and to stores for food and medicine, but the military opened fire on them and two people died. Other incidents similar to that one has occurred since then, and the U.S. along with other countries are making promises to step in an help.

Vice President Mike Pence has said that “all options are on the table” for a U.S. intervention, but no concrete actions have been outlined. Other countries are wary of armed or unarmed actions, and some Brazil’s government said they will not let the U.S. intervene from their territory.

It is currently uncertain what steps the U.S. and the world will take in response to the situation in Venezuela, but many hope that aid will be allowed through as soon as possible.