KARAKAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan political clashes have grown into fatal violence near the border with Brazil on the day when security forces shelled a group of indigenous Venezuelans, protesting against the government's determination to block relief from abroad.
Witnesses and local officials reported a confrontation a day after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro faced the biggest challenge of his political career, having ordered all transitions at the border with Brazil to be closed.
Americo de Gracia, a deputy from the opposition state of Bolivar, said at least two civilians died and more than a dozen wounded confrontations with security forces in the Gran Sabana area, along the Venezuela's southwest border with Brazil. On the territory of the Gran Sabana area, a community of indigenous inhabitants of Pemon lives.
Ricardo Delgado, leader of Remon, said that the tension that led to the confrontation began in the premature hours when the convoy from the Army and the National Guard tried to reach the checkpoint at the border to protect it. A group of protesters from indigenous people blocked their passing because they want help come.
Mr. Delgado said that he told the convoy officers that they could not pass, and they left. However, within a few hours, he said, the convoy returned, this time firing over the indigenous group that covered the streets.
"I was asleep and the shooting woke me up," he said.
On tue from the city of Santa Elena de Wayern, a border town in the Gran Sabana area, dozens of military police bombs blocking the carriageway could be seen. A small crowd of protesters gathered, singing the national anthem of Venezuela and chanting: "They kill us with hunger."
Political opposition, headed by Huang Guaido, chairman of the National Assembly, declared himself president last month, promised to forcibly provide assistance this weekend. He has the support of foreign allies headed by the United States.
Maduro said that Venezuela is not a country of "beggars" and does not need help, and called Mr. Guaido a marionate of the Trump administration.
In an effort to portray his government as benevolent and generous, Mr Maduro has posted videos on his Twitter account on the night with scenes of ample medicines and serious medical staff who are listening carefully to his instructions.
"We make every effort to ensure that the national health system does not stop and does not rise to the highest level in the world," Mr. Maduro wrote .
But once the prosperous Venezuela is pushing for its worst economic crisis, with deep hunger, deficit and hyperinflation, Mr Maduro's opponents have been accused of corruption and mismanagement. More than three million Venezuelans fled in recent years.
The most potential flash point is the city of Cucuta, Colombia, the main border crossing where the Venezuelan authorities blocked lanes with tank-vehicles and fences. The United States and other foreign states have accumulated goods on the Colombian side of the bridge
The international groups warned that a collision at the border could have widespread consequences. Jason Marchak, director of the Latin American Center in Adrian Arshta, in the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based research group, called it "a critical moment."
"The borders of Venezuela are a gun barrel of high intensity, which means that any false step can solve a wave of violence," he said. "The key question is who will be the first to come."
Commenting Mr. Marcac said that "any violence against innocent civilians seeking help should be in full compliance with international law.
Venezuelan opposition leaders and their allies in Brazil on Friday tried to find trucks and drivers for the transport of 500 sets of food and drugs they expect to cross the border on Saturday.
Maria Theresa Belandria, opposition leader who serves as envoy to Mr Guadido in Brazil, said in an interview that some of the drivers they hoped to bring to the plan were detained by the armed forces in Venezuela. Others who are already in Brazil threatened Mr Maduro's allies with arrest, she said.
"It was very difficult to build trucks," Mrs. Belandria said. "We are developing a contingency plan".
Ms. Belandria said she still plans to head a convoy of trucks carrying aid that will go from an early Saturday from the Brazilian city of Boa Vista to northern Brazil to Pacarayim, a border town about 130 miles north. the convoy to the border, where the truck drivers, apparently, tried to cross. Ms. Belandria said that Venezuelan military vehicles were located across the road to block the transport of vehicles and that security forces formed a human shield.
"This is a very tense situation," she said. trucks were able to cross, the opposition plans to unload cargo from the Venezuelan side, so that aid packages can reach the neighboring communities.
Amount of assistance in support of the basic needs of about two thousand people for a couple of months.
Although this might seem small, even the successful transport of a symbolic amount across the border is seen by opposition activists as a powerful symbol, which can lead to more intense efforts on land, sea and air. "If we succeed in getting help through it, it will mean that the armed forces have agreed to put themselves on the side of the constitution," Mrs. Belandria said