The Latest: China rebukes foreign opponents of Maduro
CUCUTA, Colombia (AP) — The Latest on Venezuela’s political crisis (all times local):
China’s foreign ministry has issued a rebuke to foreign opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, saying China opposes “intervention by external forces in the internal affairs of Venezuela.”
Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang says China “also opposes using the so-called humanitarian aid to serve political ends and stir up instability and even turmoil in Venezuela and its neighborhood, which is not in the interests of any party.”
He said in a statement Monday that China urges both the ruling and opposition parties to seek solutions through dialogue within the framework of the constitution and laws, and calls on the international community “to do things that are truly conducive to the country’s stability, economic development, and the improvement of its people’s livelihood” while respecting Venezuala’s sovereignty.
The U.N.’s high commissioner for human rights is condemning violence at points on the Venezuelan border where opposition figures have been trying to bring in aid shipments.
Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet focused her criticism on excessive use of force used by the Venezuelan security forces, as well the involvement of pro-government groups. She said Sunday that has led to at least four confirmed deaths and more than 300 injuries over the previous two days.
She said, “The Venezuelan government must stop its forces from using excessive force against unarmed protesters and ordinary citizens.”
Socialist President Nicolas Maduro is using his troops to block shipments of aid that are meant to undermine his authority and bolster that of opposition leader Juan Guaido.
Bachelet urged Maduro’s government “to rein in” pro-government groups reportedly using force against protesters.
She said: “The use of proxy forces has a long and sinister history in the region,” and added, “it is very alarming to see them operating openly in this way in Venezuela.”
Renewed clashes have broken out between protesters and Venezuelan national guardsmen at the border with Brazil.
Dozens of Venezuelans who had come to the Brazilian border city of Pacaraima began throwing rocks across the closed border at Venezuelan troops, who responded with tear gas and buckshot.
Globo television broadcast images of a Brazilian soldier advancing to the border line on Sunday to appeal for calm on the part of the Venezuelan soldiers and to urge protesters and journalists to move back.
Local officials say dozens of people were injured in more violent clashes on Saturday as Venezuelan forces blocked aid shipments from crossing the border.
Brazilian Navy Col. George Feres Kanaan is coordinating humanitarian logistics in Roraima state, and he says two Venezuelan National Guard sergeants sought refuge in Brazil on Saturday, abandoning President Nicolas Maduro’s forces.
Officials in the Brazilian border state of Roraima say they’ve treated 22 Venezuelans who suffered bullet or buckshot wounds during a confrontation over aid shipments.
A spokesman for Gov. Antonio Denarium says 18 of those required surgery. And he says dozens of other Venezuelans are being treated for other injuries suffered in Saturday’s clashes at the border city of Santa Elena.
The spokesman says the influx has overwhelmed the health system in the state capital of Boa Vista and officials plan to declare a state of emergency for the public health sector on Monday. That would give officials the ability to more quickly buy medicine and to contract rooms at private hospitals.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is blocking aid shipments organized by the opposition that are meant to undermine his rule.
The border was closed for a third straight day on Sunday.
Venezuelan migrants are helping clean debris from a bridge where troops loyal to President Nicolas Maduro earlier fired tear gas on activists trying to deliver humanitarian aid in violent clashes that left two people dead and some 300 injured.
Colombian President Ivan Duque has reinforced security around two international bridges near the city of Cucuta and ordered them closed for 48 hours to allow for the cleanup effort.
Duque says that acts of “barbarism” committed by Maduro’s troops in blocking the delivery of humanitarian aid require a forceful international response — something that could come as early as Monday, when U.S. Vice President Mike Pence travels to the Colombian capital for an emergency summit on Venezuela with foreign ministers from more than a dozen mostly conservative Latin American and Caribbean states.