A delegation of eight Brazilian senators who landed in Maiquetia earlier today were unable to get to Caracas and were instead forced to return to the airport after the road connecting the two cities was blocked. The senators, led by ex-presidential candidate Aecio Neves, intended to visit Leopoldo Lopez in the Ramo Verde military prison and Antonio Ledezma in his home, both in Caracas.
The Brazilian delegation flew back to Brazil only a few hours after landing, having been unable to reach Caracas.
Opposition leader Maria Corina Machado, who was travelling with the senators, said that authorities informed her that the two highways connecting Maiquetia and Caracas were closed: one due to maintenance, and the other due to a pro-government protest. Machado claimed that the road closures were orchestrated by the government to stop the senators from reaching Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma, the two men they had travelled to Venezuela to see.
Machado explained the situation as of 2:00 PM today in a video:
Maria Corina Machado: It’s 2:00 PM. We’ve been here for two hours accompanying the official mission from the Brazilian government, which is made up of eight senators, and who are currently inside the vehicle in which we hope to take them to Ramo Verde to visit Leopoldo Lopez, and then to [Antonio] Ledezma’s house. They tell us that every road into Caracas is closed. They say that the [main] highway is blocked because they’re cleaning the tunnels, and that there’s a protest [blocking] the [alternate] highway. This was evidently intended by the government – Mr. Maduro’s regime – to stop the senators from witnessing the Venezuelan reality.
Below, a picture showing Maria Corina Machado talking with officers from the Policia Nacional Bolivariana earlier today:
Both Roads Leading to Caracas Blocked
There are two roads connecting Caracas and Maiquetia: the carretera Caracas-La Guaira (Caracas-La Guaira Highway) and the carretera vieja (literally, “the old highway”). While it is not unheard of for one of these two highways to be closed for one reason or another, it is rare for both to be impassable at the same time, since they’re the only ways to connect the international airport in Maiquetia with the capital.
The Caracas-La Guaira highway is the main road connecting the two cities, and it includes two tunnels, both of which were apparently closed for maintenance today.
The old highway is an alternate route, and tends to be used only if the main highway is impassable, as it is much more winding and narrow. As Machado claimed, the old highway was blocked by a group of pro-government protesters who were halting traffic from making it onto the highway at the El Trebol cloverleaf interchange in La Guaira.
Below, a video taken from inside one of the Brazilian delegation’s buses showing pro-government protesters blocking the diplomatic convoy:
Crowd: Fuera! Fuera! [Get out! Get out!]
Woman in Passenger Seat: And look, the police are like, “Ok, thanks, no problem”. Don’t even think about opening the doors. Lock them. Calm down, they can’t break the windows.
Below, some pictures of the protest:
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