In anticipation of new details, deadlines are already known. At the convocation of Juan Guaidó, recognized as a legitimate president by a hundred countries, the Venezuelans returned to the street on Tuesday to demand that the Venezuelan forces allow the arrival of international aid, rejected by the leadership of Nicolás Maduro. Guaidó has assured Tuesday that humanitarian support convoys will participate on 23 February. The demonstrations also tried to send a message to the army to let the food and medical supplies stored since last week in the Colombian city of Cúcuta where the first assembly center was located.
In just over a week, the representatives of Guaidó – in close collaboration with Washington and Bogotá – have launched the first phase of their strategy: the storage of aid at several points in Colombia, Brazil and an island in the Caribbean. Last Thursday, the first trucks with stock at a winery arrived on the international bridge of Tienditas, near Cúcuta, the most important city on the porous common border, extending over 2,200 kilometers. On the Venezuelan side, the army has blocked all lanes of the modern, unused structure with two containers and a tanker.
The humanitarian aid coordinator, appointed by Guaidó, Lester Toledo, announced Monday a new warehouse in the Brazilian state of Roraima. The next tons of help from next week will be there. "We can officially say that it will be the second largest assembly center after that of Cúcuta, and that Brazil will join this coalition," said Toledo after he was received in Brasilia by Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo. In addition, the deputy José Manuel Olivares, who is a member of the committee of the National Assembly who has deployed on the border with Colombia, was in the department of La Guajira, further to the north, to evaluate the installation of another point, of which the announcement It is upcoming. There are also delegations working with secrecy in the Lesser Antilles.
In the event last Friday, in which the Colombian and American authorities and representatives of Guaidó showed the press the food and medical supplies in the Tienditas warehouses, Toledo provided a scenario in which rivers of people guaranteed access to aid. He even remembered a reminded episode of 2016 when white-clad women passed the barricades of the Venezuelan guard to enter Colombia, in spite of the closure of the border that Maduro had ordered at the time.
Without distancing itself from its central message that claims "denouncing the usurpation" by Maduro, a transitional government and free elections, Guaidó's strategy has focused for several days on unblocking the humanitarian aid of the cooperation agency. American (Usaid). Chavismo, which still brings together the majority of the armed forces on his side, opposes the entry, denies the crisis and considers these missions as an excuse for intervention. Guaidó is trying to increase the pressure on the army, which currently has to take sides, and has warned them that preventing the entry of supplies & # 39; a crime against humanity & # 39; would be.
The final phase of introducing aid into Venezuela has shown that Bogota and Washington will be in the hands of Guaidó representatives, who are not aware of the many logistical challenges of a multi-state company, such as the cooling of some medicines, to mention just one The distribution will include the church, various NGOs and volunteers, as explained by the leader of the Voluntad Popular party. Children and pregnant women will be a priority in the malnutrition frameworks that are preparing to define the most critical areas.
In Cúcuta, the capital of the capital, more than 500 kilometers from Bogotá, which has become the epicenter of the operation, the activity is intense, with sporadic protests against Maduro. On Sunday, several dozen Venezuelan doctors crossed the border to demonstrate at the entrance to Tienditas, where they demanded access to humanitarian aid, denouncing the deterioration of the Venezuelan health centers and the precarious conditions under which they treat their patients.
The border town is also the best example of the impact of the unprecedented migration wave. Of the three million Venezuelans who have left their country, driven by scarcity, hyperinflation and insecurity, nearly 1.2 million live in the neighboring country, 168,000 in the metropolitan area of Cúcuta, according to the latest data from Migración Colombia. The exodus can be felt in every corner, from the communal kitchens that spread thousands of dishes to the migrants to the Colegio Educativa de la Frontera school, where 1,200 of the 1,600 students cross every day from the other side to take classes. "The child in Venezuela endures hunger, comes to Colombia with the hope of being able to eat," says the rector, Germán Eduardo Berbesí. For one semester, at the Erasmus University Hospital, more babies were born from Venezuelan mothers than from Colombian mothers.
The Simón Bolívar Bridge, the most important crossing that traverses around 35,000 people every day, has been a hotbed for years with migrants who come and go without rest. The protests on Tuesday did not affect the routines on the Colombian side, where Venezuelan advisers who sell bus trips to cities ranging from Medellin, Cali or Bogota, to distant international destinations such as the Rumichaca Bridge – on the border with Ecuador – piling up. – for 110 dollars, Lima for 235 or Buenos Aires for almost 500. The competition is fierce. "People keep coming, prefer to increase and now that they do not let humanitarian aid go by, things go faster," says one of those advisers, Michael Carmona, 30, about the mouth of the bridge. "The Venezuelan who does not work is taken by the stream because the one who does not produce does not eat", he says. On the same path is his wife, Sinai Gonzalez, 25, with a belly that reveals her seven months of pregnancy. "They can not take care of that, we started thinking about the baby two months ago".