At least 8 tons of gold were removed from the Venezuelan central bank’s vaults last week, an opposition legislator and three government sources told Reuters, in the latest sign of President Nicolas Maduro’s desperation to raise hard currency amid tightening sanctions.
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido arrived in Brazil on Wednesday night to meet with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro as part of a tour of several nations to drum up international pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to step down.
The number of members of the Venezuelan Armed Forces who defected across the Venezuelan-Colombian border since Saturday, February 23, has risen to 326, according to Colombian immigration authorities.
The United States targeted Venezuela's government with new sanctions on Monday and called on allies to freeze the assets of its state-owned oil company PDVSA after deadly violence blocked aid from reaching the crisis-hit country during the weekend.
Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao said on Monday that under no circumstances would his country allow the United States to intervene militarily in Venezuela from Brazilian territory.
“I will return by the airport,” responded the leader of the Venezuelan National Assembly and proclaimed the president in charge, Juan Guaidó, during a press conference in the border city of Cúcuta, Colombia. And is that after the end of the failed humanitarian operation that failed to internalize the oil country tons of food and medicine, many wonders how Guaidó will concretely return to Venezuela.
US Vice President Mike Pence is set to announce “concrete steps” and “clear actions” to address the Venezuela crisis when he meets this Monday with regional leaders in Bogota, Colombia, a senior US administration official said.
Venezuelan soldiers who defected into Colombia on Saturday say they fear for the safety of their families under President Nicolás Maduro's government. Speaking exclusively to the BBC's Orla Guerin, one defector aged 23 says he is worried forces loyal to the president may “lash out against my family”.
In the midst of a tense day in which there have been clashes between volunteers and Venezuelan military officials on the borders of the country, President Nicolás Maduro, considered a usurper by the parliament of his country, announced the “total” cessation of diplomatic relations with Colombia.
Venezuela will live a historic day this Saturday, February 23: thousands of people will gather at the borders of the country for a massive mobilization that expects to receive tons of humanitarian aid.