Venezuelan government blocks off bridge linking country with Colombia with shipping containers which could cause it to collapse as the US issues sanctions for blocking delivery of aid
- President Maduro’s regime is continuing to seal off a major border crossing point with Colombia and won’t allow humanitarian aid to reach Venezuela
- A third shipping container was added Thursday on the Venezuelan side of the Simón Bolívar International Bridge and it was quickly filled up with sand
- The Colombian government fears the bridge, which was built in 1962, could deteriorate and fall apart as 30 tons of dead weight sits on it
- On Friday, the United States Department of Treasury issued sanctions against six officials loyal to Maduro who have played a role in blocking several bridges
President Nicólas Maduro’s regime continues to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching its people by blocking off a bridge that connects Venezuela and Colombia.
The ruling socialist party dumped another shipping container on the Venezuelan side of the Simón Bolívar International Bridge early Thursday morning, adding to the two already there.
Video images show the moment workers operating a tractor fill up three storage containers with sand.
The containers were reportedly welded together to stop opposition and international groups removing them.
Colombian officials have raised concerns over the 300-meter long bridge, which was opened in 1962.
Embattled Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro is still holding on to the presidency despite mounting pressure from the international community asking him to step down
A worker (pictured) stands on top of a shipping container while a tractor dumps sand into a container that was placed on the Venezuelan side of the Simón Bolívar International Bridge to block of potential humanitarian aid from entering Venezuela
The bridge once served as a primary trade route between the South American neighboring countries before Maduro shut it down to vehicles in 2015.
The sand-filled containers have added an additional 30 tons of dead weight to the Simón Bolívar International Bridge.
The Colombian government is afraid the structure that connects the city of Cúcuta with the Venezuelan state of Táchira could collapse, if Maduro and his regime don’t back down.
On Friday, the United States Department of Treasury issued sanctions against six Venezuelan security officials loyal to the embattled leader for blocking off the delivery of the humanitarian aid on February 23.
It sparked off a showdown between forces loyal to Maduro and supporters of the opposition.
Maduro’s regime was accused of burning down two trucks filled with food and medical supplies at the Francisco de Paula Santander Bridge connecting Colombia and Venezuela.
The shipping containers are seen here blocking the Simón Bolívar International Bridge
A third container was placed by the Venezuelan socialist government at the Simón Bolívar International Bridge, which serves as a border crossing with their Colombian neighbors. It has been shut down to vehicles since 2015 by Maduro
The sanctions targeted Richard Jesús Lopez, the Major General and the Commanding General of the Venezuelan National Guard; Jesús María Mantilla, the Major General and the Commander of Strategic Integral Defense in the Guayana region; Alberto Mirtiliano Bermúdez, the Division General for the Integral Defense Zone in the state of Bolivar; and José Leonardo Norono, the Division General and Commander for the Integral Defense Zone in Táchira.
Also named were José Miguel Domínguez, the Chief Commissioner of the Special Unite Force in Táchira; and Cristhiam Abelardo Morales, the Director of the National Police and a Colonel within the National Guard.
‘Maduro’s border blockades of trucks and ships loaded with humanitarian aid are the latest example of his illegitimate regime weaponizing the delivery of food and critically needed supplies in order to control vulnerable Venezuelans,’ Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement.
On Friday, Honduran Air Force soldiers loaded humanitarian aid for Venezuela on an aircraft at Hernán Acosta Mejia air base, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras
‘We are sanctioning members of Maduro’s security forces in response to the reprehensible violence, tragic deaths, and unconscionable torching of food and medicine destined for sick and starving Venezuelans.’
The Trump administration, which is fully supporting Juan Guaidó as interim president, also issued a round of sanctions on four pro-government governors, including a close Maduro ally who negotiated the release of an American in jail more than two years.
While meeting with the Lima Group and Guaidó in Colombia, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence urged regional partners to freeze oil assets controlled by Maduro, transfer the proceeds to Guaidó and restrict visas for Maduro’s inner circle.
‘It’s time to do more,’ said Pence. ‘The day is coming soon when Venezuela’s long nightmare will end, when Venezuela will once more be free, when her people will see a new birth of freedom, in a nation reborn to liberated.’