At least two people were killed and approximately 22 others were injured this morning when soldiers with the National Bolivarian Armed Forces opened fire on a group of Indigenous protesters in the San Francisco de Yuruaní municipality of Bolivar state.
News of the event spread after human rights lawyer Tamara Suju broke the news through her Twitter account at approximately 7:30 AM local time. Suju said that a bus carrying soldiers opened fire on a group of protesters who were gathered near a roadblock.
Citing a local indigenous leader, Suju later reported that a woman named Zoraida Rodriguez had died in the shooting, and that the demonstrators had captured three soldiers in the aftermath of the violence. Venezuelan ambulances took five of the injured into Brazil to receive medical attention.
The protesters were gathered to demand that the Maduro regime allow humanitarian aid to enter from Brazil. Just yesterday, Maduro ordered the border there closed in order to prevent aid warehoused in Brazil’s Roraima province from entering Venezuela.
The killings sparked a protest by the Pemon community in the Brazilian town of Paracaima, which is just across the border from where the violence took place.
Interim president Juan Guaido reacted to knows of the events in San Francisco de Yuruaní through a series of tweets in which he called on local military commanders to bring to justice the soldiers responsible for the violence. Gaudio also called on the rest of the armed forces to openly side with the Venezuelan people:
To all soldiers: you will decide how you want to be remembered between today and tomorrow. We already know that you’re with the people, you’ve made that very clear. Tomorrow, you’ll be able to demonstrate it.
Venezuela Aid Live Rocks Thousands of Thousands in Cucuta
Venezuelan Aid Live, a super-concert sponsored by British billionaire Richard Branson to raise funds for the humanitarian relief effort, entertained thousands of people who gathered before the stage in Cucuta, Colombia, just meters away from the border with Venezuela.
The concert included a lineup of Latin American stars, including Alejandro Sanz, Ricardo Montaner, Carlos Vives, and Juan Luis Guerra, among others.
Below, some images and videos from Venezuela Aid Live:
Guaido Makes Surprise Appearance at Concert
Late in the afternoon, interim president Juan Guaido made a surprise appearance at the concert. In the video below, Guaido is joined by Colombian president Ivan Duque:
Another video of Guaido’s arrival:
Pictures of Guaido in what appears to be the press/VIP section of the concert grounds:
Guaido’s visit to Cucuta is all the more surprising given the fact that the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) prohibited him from leaving the country in a ruling issued on January 29, meaning that he was either smuggled into the country or that the Venezuelan border authorities helped him cross.
Guaido claims that the latter was true:
The question is: how did we arrive here [in Colombia] today, when they [the government] ordered the closure of airspace, prohibited all types of maritime travel, and blockaded the roads (…) we are here precisely because the armed forces also participated in this process.
Gov’t Censors Internet, Knocks Channels Off the Air During Concert
Netblocks, an organization that tracks state interference with internet service, reported this afternoon that several websites–including YouTube, Google and Bing–were being blocked by Venezuelan authorities to coincide with the broadcast of Venezuela Aid Live:
At approximately the same time, the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Prensa (National Syndicate of Press Workers, SNTP) announced that two television channels broadcasting the concert–NatGeo and Antena 3_-were knocked off the air:
Regime Concert Takes Place 600 Meters Away
The Maduro regime held its own concert less than a kilometer away across the border in Venezuela.
Below, images and videos from the concert:
Venezuelan Activity on Tienditas Bridge Captured on Camera
Cameras belonging to Colombia’s migration agency captured the moments when Venezuelan soldiers worked on the barricades erected by the Maduro regime earlier this month on the Tienditas international bridge.
In the videos, soldiers can be seen welding in proximity to three shipping containers placed on the bridge on February 5-6 by Venezuelan authorities.
While its difficult to tell from the videos what exactly the Venezuelan soldiers were welding, Colombian authorities claimed that they were welding the shipping containers to the bridge to make their removal all the more difficult.
Below, a Twitter thread with the videos:
The Tienditas bridge has never been open to traffic, and Colombian authorities had previously placed the small metallic fence across the structure. However, once it became known that the bridge would be the likely point of entry of humanitarian aid being warehoused in Cucuta, Venezuelan authorities placed two shipping containers and a tanker on the bridge, presumably in anticipation of the removal of the Colombian barriers.
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