Venezuela Army Trucks Block Guaido's Travels as Showdown Looms

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"I don't want to have to make these types of decisions, but I am evaluating it - the total closure of the border with Colombia", said Maduro.

Gustavo Marcano, senior aide to the opposition's envoy to Washington, told reporters in the USA capital on Thursday that 11 diplomats in the United States have defected from Maduro's government since Guaido declared himself interim president.

"What the U.S. empire is doing with its puppets is an internal provocation", Mt Maduro said.

Maduro denies there is a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and said on Thursday he was considering closing the border with Colombia and would close the border with Brazil.

Venezuela is also considering sealing its border with Colombia, he added.

Under Maduro's orders, Venezuela this week blocked air and sea travel between Venezuela and the nearby Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao, another point where aid was being stockpiled. The oil-rich economy has halved in size in five years.

Guaido still has not provided details on how the aid will come in.

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Before Maduro closed the border, Brazil announced it was preparing to help with the aid effort.

Embattled Maduro has dismissed Guaido's humanitarian caravan as a "cheap show" and slammed aid as a precursor for a U.S. military intervention in the oil-rich but crippled Latin American country.

The socialist president is under a mounting challenge by Guaido, who has declared himself acting president on the grounds that Maduro's re-election was invalid.

Maduro accuses the Trump administration, which has levied crippling sanctions against his government, of seeking to force his ouster.

A boat carrying 250 tons of aid has left Puerto Rico's capital of San Juan headed for Venezuela, the local government said in a statement. Maduro says the aid meant to undermine and overthrow him and says Venezuela needs no such shipments. USA envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams has a record of using humanitarian convoys to smuggle arms to Latin American countries targeted for regime change by Washington, and Caracas says he is now trying to follow the same script in Venezuela.

Guaido has offered amnesty to military officers who disavow Maduro, though few have so far done so.

The opposition leader said he has enlisted hundreds of thousands of volunteers to bring in aid in defiance of Maduro's blockade, claiming 300,000 people could perish if the blockade continues.

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