At least one person is dead and several more injured after Venezuelan troops opened fire on civilians near the Brazilian border, opposition figures claim. The victims were reportedly helping move humanitarian aid into Venezuela. Video footage shot by opposition politician Americo De Grazia purports to show several of the wounded being treated in hospital. Between 12 and 23 people are believed to be injured, according to various reports.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro sealed off the country’s Brazilian border on Thursday, after Brazil’s government pledged to send humanitarian aid to its crisis-stricken neighbor. Maduro has dismissed foreign aid as “crumbs” and a precursor to military invasion.
The US maintains that its aid crates contain much needed food, medicine, and hygiene supplies. However, the government in Caracas fears that the 'aid' is actually weapons caches meant to arm the opposition. The Russian Foreign Ministry has also warned that the US may be acquiring and shipping weapons to the Venezuelan opposition.
These fears are not entirely unfounded. After all, US envoy for Venezuela Elliot Abrams did exactly that in Nicaragua in the early 1980s, running guns to the right-wing Contras under the guise of humanitarian aid.