Reuters reported today that the government of Guyana has strengthened security along its border with Venezuela by building two army bases on its western edge in this past weekReuters cites “authorities in the tiny former British colony” as saying that Venezuelan soldiers have been crossing the border into Guyana looking for food, and that others are crossing into the country looking for medical treatment.

The bases were erected near the villages of Kaikan and Whitewater.

The Guyanese-Venezuela border is the least developed of Venezuela’s three neighbours, including Colombia and Brazil. While there are numerous official border crossings along well-developed areas into Colombia, there is only one into Brazil and none into Guyana given that the Amazon jungle acts as a natural barrier separating the countries.

Yesterday, Guyanese President David Granger visited the village of Kaikan, located in what he called the “front line” against Venezuelan incursions, and said:

Frontier communities are guardians of Guyana’s territorial integrity and national security. They are our first line of defense.

A regional Guyanese leader named Brentnol Ashley was quoted by Reuters explaining the effects that the “large influx of Venezuelans” has had on their border community. Ashley said:

They come in metal boats and they bring whatever they have to sell – everything from fruits and vegetables to live cattle and plucked chicken (…) In Whitewater, we found Venezuelan soldiers in Guyanese territory in search of food.

Guyana joins Brazil and Colombia in taking special measures in reaction the Venezuelan crisis, the effects of which are increasingly spilling across its borders.

Washington’s New Venezuela Man Talks Tough

The leading United States diplomat in Venezuela, Todd Robinson, gave an interview to RunRun.Es in which he took a tough stance against the Maduro regime, and warned that “everything is on the table” for dealing with him as far as Washington is concerned.

According to Robinson, the Maduro regime is bent on “controlling the system to ensure victory in any electoral process”, which makes the possibility of a peaceful political transition “complicated’. At the same time, Robinson said that he had not yet lost hope for an “electoral path” out of the current crisis, and that he believed that there was still time for the regime to “come to understand” that negotiation was the only productive solution to the crisis.

When asked what role he believes the Venezuelan military might have in possibly overthrowing Maduro, Robinson said:

It is evident that the military has a lot of influence when it comes to the future of the country, and if they can help, we are not going to say “no”.

Robinson said that an oil embargo was “possible”, echoing whispers out of Washington in recent months that the measure might be in the pipes.

Robinson was also asked if the firebrand rhetoric that comes out of Maduro and other regime officials towards the United States was echoed in private meetings with the same officials. Robinson replied:

Yes. I’ve had two meetings with members of the Venezuelan government, and both of them were very bad. I experienced direct attacks against me, my country and my team. I can only say that if this is the type of relation that they want to have between the United States and Venezuela, that’s fine, but I expect better treatment for my team and more respect for the relationship between the two countries, which have a lot in common. In fact, many Venezuelans live in the United States. The two countries deserve a better relationship, and the path is open for the two countries to have a better relationship, but the Venezuelan government has to want this. We are here ready to talk to them.

Borges Meets Panamanian President

National Assembly deputy Julio Borges met today with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela in order to discuss the ongoing Venezuelan crisis, and in particular the upcoming April 22 presidential election. In a press release, Borges spoke on the importance of the meeting by saying:

It is necessary to approve a great national and international front, where Venezuelans can stand firm in defending our right to have free presidential elections and live in a democracy.

Borges has been out of the country since last week as part of a tour in which he hopes to raise awareness about the crisis in the country and build alliances with international actors.

Earlier this month, Maduro suggested that Borges had escaped the country and was hoping to find asylum somewhere. Borges was quick to refute the claim, and stressed that his trip abroad was temporary and aimed at continuing the struggle against Maduro’s regime.

Malnutrition Claims 18 Lives in Monagas So Far in 2018

The chief pediatrician at Maturin’s Hospital Dr. Manuel Núñez Tovar, Dr. Yacirka Vssquez, announced today that 18 children have died in the hospital so far in 2018 from malnutrition. Dr. Vasquez said that the children ranged in age from newborns to four-years-old, and that the latest fatality at the hospital form malnutrition was a four-month-old girl.

Dr. Vasquez also said:

During the first month of the year, 25 children were admitted to the hospital showing signs of chronic malnutrition, and in February we admitted four more.

Dr. Vasquez also said that chronic food shortages in Venezuela are forcing mothers to feed their newborns rice and/or pasta water, which aside from lacking nutrition can cause intestinal complications.

Venezuela’s economic collapse under the Maduro regime is the worst in the country’s modern history. Just yesterday, the results of a yearly survey revealed that 87% of Venezuelans live in poverty, and that 89% are unable to afford food.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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