Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro ordered the vast border with Brazil to be closed on Thursday, just days before opposition leaders plan to bring in foreign humanitarian aid he has refused to accept.
Maduro said he’s also weighing whether to shut down border with Colombia.
Maduro made the announcement on state TV surrounded by military commanders.
Opposition leaders led by Juan Guaido are vowing to bring in U.S. supplies of emergency food and medicine to dramatize the country’s hardships under Maduro, who has said the country doesn’t need such help.
The Morning Rundown
Get a head start on the morning's top stories.
“What the U.S. empire is doing with its puppets is an internal provocation,” Maduro said. “They wanted to generate a great national commotion, but they didn’t achieve it.”
Under Maduro’s orders, Venezuela this week blocked air and sea travel between Venezuela and the nearby Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao, another point where aid was being stockpiled.
A caravan of vehicles carrying Guaido left the Venezuelan capital of Caracas early Thursday, heading toward the border with Colombia as part of the effort to bring in aid stored in the city of Cucuta starting on Saturday.
Maduro denies a humanitarian crisis, accusing the United States of leading a coup to remove him from power and using the “show” of supposed humanitarian aid as military intervention.