Colombian president visits Venezuelan border to assess damage after clashes

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Colombian President Ivan Duque

Colombian President Ivan Duque


© AP Photo/Fernando Vergara

BOGOTA, February 24./TASS/. Colombian President Ivan Duque visited on Sunday the Simon Bolivar international bridge connecting Colombian Cucuta with Venezuela, to assess its condition after Saturday clashes.

The president tweeted that he had visited the bridge together with Vice President Martha Lucia Ramirez Blanco, Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo and representatives from the healthcare ministry. While visiting the border, the delegation also met with the public. “We also sent words of support to the Venezuelan brothers who seek to restore freedom in their country,” Duque said.

On Saturday the Colombian authorities made the decision to shut down for two days the border crossing points on the border with Venezuela in the eastern North Santander department to consider the amount of damage to the infrastructure.

On Saturday, Venezuelan police officers tried to disperse the crowds gathering on the Simon Bolivar bridge to take part in an operation of getting humanitarian aid inside the country. Tear-gas was used to disperse them.

According to the Colombian Foreign Ministry, 285 people were injured in the clashes.

On January 23, Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in Caracas. A number of countries, including the United States, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him as president.

Venezuela’s incumbent President Nicolas Maduro blasted these actions as an attempted coup and said he was cutting diplomatic ties with Washington. Among countries that voiced support for Maduro are Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey.

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