Venezuelan foreign minister says Maduro did not order to open fire at civilians

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CARACAS, February 26. /TASS/. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has not ordered to open fire at civilians, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told “Democracy Now!” news program broadcast on Monday.

“When you’re watching television, it seems like Maduro ordered the military to open fire at the people, but this is not so,” Arreaza said. He added that the Venezuelan government was acting “very wisely and resisted the invasion.” This is how the Venezuelan authorities describe the opposition’s attempt to deliver humanitarian aid to the country on February 23 through the closed state border with Colombia and Brazil.

Venezuela’s National Guards deployed near the border, did not allow the cargo to enter the country. Several trucks were burned down. Hundreds of people were injured in ensuing riots, including dozens of Colombian citizens. According to various reports, from four to 25 people were killed in the riots. The opposition said that around 160 servicemen left for Colombia since February 23 because they no longer wanted to recognize Maduro.

On January 23 Venezuelan National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido proclaimed himself as the country’s acting president. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has described it as a coup attempt and announced severing diplomatic relations with the United States. On January 28 the US imposed sancitons on Venezuela’s state-owned PDVSA oil company.

Guaido was recognized as interim president by the Lima Group countries (except for Mexico), as well as by Albania, Georgia, the United States, and the Organization of American States. Several EU countries came forward with support for the Venezuelan parliament and expressed hope for new elections to resolve the crisis. Maduro was supported by Russia, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey. Belarus and China called for resolving all issues by peaceful means and spoke against any interference from the outside. The UN secretary general called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.

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