Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro has blocked the three-lane border bridge with Colombia on Tuesday where humanitarian aid was set to arrive claiming ‘we are not beggars.’
The move has sparked anger among desperate Venezuelans in need of medicine and food.
Security forces blocked border bridge using two shipping containers and a fuel tanker. Armed guards stood at the customs building vowing to turn back any attempt to cross the border.
The aid supplied by the US has been rejected by Maduro after the Trump administration recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the rightful interim ruler of the country.
In the Venezuelan border town of Urena, residents signed up to unofficial waiting lists for aid.
“We’re desperate. Our money is not worth anything. Maduro may not like the help, but he should think about people who do not have anything to eat,” said Livia Vargas, 40. “I signed up on a list to receive aid but then they told us that it would not work like that.”
The governments of Colombia and U.S. have remained silent on how they plan to distribute the aid without Maduro’s approval.
Shipments are also due to come from Venezuelan companies abroad, and the governments of Colombia, Canada and Germany.
Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said on Wednesday airplanes had arrived in Colombia and paperwork was being handled to send the aid to the border town of Cucuta.
Colombia has received more than 1.1 million Venezuelans, with about 3,000 entering each day. Government estimates reach 4 million by 2021 if the crisis in Venezuela is not resolved.