Venezuela seals border to block US aid shipment amid fears of 'Trojan horse'

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The Venezuelan government led by President Nicolas Maduro has sealed off the country's border with Brazil and suspended aerial and maritime communications with the neighboring islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The military has also placed freight containers at the Tienditas bridge linking Venezuela with the Colombian city of Cucuta to block U.S. aid, as Maduro warned that the forceful humanitarian aid is fake and might be the first step toward a foreign invasion.

The United States and other countries in the region, in coordination with the Venezuelan opposition, have declared their plan to deliver aid into Venezuela on Saturday.

It coincides with the date that self-proclaimed Acting Venezuelan President Juan Guaido set for himself to take presidential powers.

Guaido, head of the Venezuelan National Assembly, declared himself interim president during an antigovernment rally on Jan. 23, a move which was immediately recognized by the United States.

Maduro accused Washington of orchestrating the show to impose, through a coup d'etat, a puppet regime in Venezuela.

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia told reporters on Wednesday that his country is "categorically" against regime change in Venezuela.

"Russia is categorically against this regime change that we see is being implemented," said Nebenzia, adding that he hopes that "there are no foreign troops whatsoever coming to Venezuela from whatever country."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Friday that China opposes military intervention and any action that could lead to heightened tension or even turmoil in Venezuela.

The government of Venezuela has "remained calm and exercised restraint," effectively preventing large-scale clashes, Geng said.

"If so-called 'humanitarian aid' is delivered into Venezuela by force, once violent conflicts are caused, serious consequences will be brought on," he warned.

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said Wednesday that the country's internal order and proper protection of its borders are guaranteed.

The Venezuelan government has arranged cultural activities and medical and nutritional assistance trips for Colombian citizens who live along the border, she said.

On the other side, the opposition has arranged a charity concert called "Venezuela Aid Live" to hype up its momentum and rally support.

Rodriguez said: "The first thing I would tell (U.S.) President Donald Trump is that his coup attempt in Venezuela failed, and even his own media are beginning to tell him that."

She said that the way out of the crisis is through dialogue, and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza had held a very important and lengthy meeting with the European Union and Uruguay contact group.

"There is a minority of world governments that intends to become hegemonic through force, but the only power we recognize is the power of international law," Rodriguez added.

Maduro on Thursday met commanders of different components of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) in person, and with leaders of the main regions and military zones through a video conference.

He praised the morality and disposition of the FANB in the face of the current psychological war waged by the United States.

The U.S. government has been plotting a set of provocations, but it "underestimated the capacity, preparation, moral firmness, professionalism and Bolivarian character of the Venezuelan military," Maduro warned.

The current U.S. provocation takes the form of "fake humanitarian aid," he stressed.

According to Rodriguez, the United States is blocking Venezuelan state funds to be used on treating children with cancer or kidney problems.

"They have refused (to hand over) funds that the (state oil firm) PDVSA, through the Simon Bolivar Foundation and Citgo, earmarks and channels annually to treat cancer and kidney patients, mainly children," she said.

"These patients, which are under the protection of this PDVSA program, are being turned out of medical centers," Rodriguez said. "We have had a death in Brazil and we have serious kidney transplant and cancer cases."

While Washington insists on delivering "humanitarian aid" to Venezuela, it is causing a humanitarian crisis among the sick, said Rodriguez, calling the announced delivery of aid on Feb. 23 "a big circus, a big show."

Venezuela has said it will block the delivery of U.S. aid, which it believes is a pretext to launch a military incursion. 

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