Troops defect as tensions escalate at Venezuela-Colombia border

1 Killed, 12 Injured as Venezuela Turmoil Turns to Music

In a tweet Friday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland reiterated Canada's concerns over reports of violence at the Venezuela-Brazil border and urged "unrestricted access for humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people".

Opposition leaders are pushing forward in belief that whether Maduro lets the aid in or not, he will come out weakened.

Two humanitarian aid trucks crossed the Brazilian border although they had not passed through the Venezuelan customs checkpoint, according to a Reuters witness.

The standoff also prompted Branson to back the concert, who Colombian entrepreneur Bruno Ocampo said is so committed to getting humanitarian aid into Venezuela that he will personally stay until Saturday to help ensure that food and medical supplies make it across the border.

"We demand that [the aid] is allowed to enter Venezuelan territory peacefully", Duque said. Maduro, whose regime has been accused of committing crimes against humanity.

They were accompanied by Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, whose country has also donated supplies to Venezuela. Organizers estimate some 250,000 people will attend the Venezuela Aid Live concert which aims to raise 100 million USA dollars in food and medicine for Venezuela.

Colombia and Venezuela share a 2,200 kilometer-long (1,370 mile) border, and trucks carrying aid could also drive across some of the countless illegal dirt roads that link the two countries across the porous border.

Demonstrators push away a bus that was torched during clashes with the Bolivarian National Guard in Urena, Venezuela, near the border with Colombia, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. At least two dozen people were injured in the disturbances, according to local health officials.

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Ms Zakhorava has also accused Venezuela's opposition Juan Guaido's of bringing USA supplies across the Columbian border to provoke clashes and allow "a convenient pretext for conducting military action". Broadcaster TN showed footage of civilians facing off against heavily armed soldiers while fires burned on the border.

Clockwise from top left; Venezuelan singer "Chyno" performs during "Venezuela Aid Live" concert; thousands attend the "Venezuela Aid Live" concert at Tienditas International Bridge in Cucuta, Colombia; People with Venezuelan flags chant anti-government slogans on their way to the concert in Urena, Venezuela; Richard Branson organized the Venezuela Aid Live concert.

As "Fher" Olvera the lead vocalist of Maná and the other members of his Mexican rock band took over the Venezuela Aid Live stage in front of a crowd of about 250,000 people in Colombia's city of Cucuta, a few people were dancing in front of a large stage in Venezuela's state of Tachira. The opposition has said that it wants to form a human chain to cross the aid into Venezuela.

Marcel Perez, a 30-year-old Pemon, said in an interview in Pacaraima, Brazil, that he and others had gathered at dawn for a peaceful protest to prevent the military from reaching the border.

The aid consists of food kits "containing rice, beans, sugar, and salt to feed almost 3,500 people for 10 days and additional rice to feed an estimated 6,100 people for one month", a fact sheet from the State Department says.

Some 2.7 million people have fled Venezuela since 2015 amid a devastating political and economic crisis, according to United Nations figures released Friday.

Even as the 35-year-old lawmaker has won the backing of more than 50 governments around the world, he's so far been unable to cause a major rift inside the military - the socialist leader's last-remaining plank of support in a country ravaged by hyperinflation and widespread shortages.

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