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U.S. warns Maduro that violence against citizens 'will not be forgotten'

By Darryl Coote
The border bridge of Tienditas between Colombia and Venezuela, in Cucuta, Colombia, was blocked by the Venezuelan army to prevent the entrance of humanitarian aid. Photo by Mauricio Duenas/EPA-EFE
The border bridge of Tienditas between Colombia and Venezuela, in Cucuta, Colombia, was blocked by the Venezuelan army to prevent the entrance of humanitarian aid. Photo by Mauricio Duenas/EPA-EFE

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The White House warned the Venezuelan military that any violence committed against civilians at its borders with Brazil and Colombia where aid waits to be brought into the country "will not be forgotten."

On Tuesday, the Brazilian government offered humanitarian aid to the country at the request of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, the Guardian reported.

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The aid, which is to be delivered by Feb. 23, is to be brought over the border from the northern Brazilian city of Boa Vista in Venezuelan trucks driven by Venezuelan nationals.

The announcement comes as U.S. aid is being readied to be shipped over into Venezuela from the northwestern Colombian border town of Cucuta, though it is not yet known how this aid will cross into the country.

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has protested the need for aid and he has claimed that this entire situation stems from U.S. efforts at organizing a coup.

To prevent the U.S. aid from entering, Madura has blockaded a major bridge between Colombia and Venezuela with containers and an oil tanker truck.

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Guaido had called for volunteers to help deliver the aid and he said some 600,000 have responded to transport the aid on Saturday.

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The announcement of aid comes as the Venezuelan military has vowed to support Maduro, who since having his position stripped in late March has seen international recognition dissipate.

Since Guaido gained control of the control in mid-January, dozens of countries have backed his presidency, further denying Maduro's claim to the helm of the South American nation.

National security advisor John Bolton said in a tweet Tuesday that the Venezuelan military must uphold its duty to protect citizens at its borders and allow aid to be brought into the country.

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"Any actions by the Venezuelan military to condone or instigate violence against peaceful civilians at the Colombian and Brazilian borders will not be forgotten. Leaders still have time to make the right choice."

On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump warned Maduro and his supporters during a speech in Miami, Florida, that the entire world was watching them.

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"We seek a peaceful transition of power, but all options are open," he said. "You will lose everything. Let your people go, set your country free."

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