Senator Marco Rubio Threatens to "Gaddafi" Venezuelan President, Showdown Looms Along Border
A meeting of the Lima Group started an hour ago in the capital of Columbia. The member states of the group call for фa change of power in Venezuela. The meeting was also attended by the self-declared president, Guaido, who has announced that Venezuela has joined the Lima Group as well. This decision, taken by Guaido, has no effect along with all of his other decisions.
Our correspondent, Valentin Bogdanov, is following the Bogota meeting. And our special correspondent, Anton Lyadov, is reporting on the situation on the Venezuelan-Colombian border.
The so-called Lima Group ganged up even before the world knew of Guaido from Venezuela. The group encompasses 14 countries. The USA isn't a member, but, of course, US Vice-President Mike Pence is a guest to the Bogota meeting. A whole quarter surrounding the Colombian Foreign Ministry has been closed for his sake. The Foreign Minister was the first to arrive. However, Carlos Holmes Trujillo didn't answer the question about the future of Venezuela.
— Will you support military action if Mike Pence suggests it?
Trujillo had to meet with Guaido, who arrived in Bogota in the morning. A welcome mat was put out as well as a ramp guard. But Guaido screwed up again, wearing jeans and sneakers. The crowd was also there: checked by the US Secret Service, Venezuelan refugees were smiling for the cameras before the meeting. By tradition, they act as living examples of Caracas's violence. Well, they also want to take a photo with Mike Pence. His motorcade is the longest in Bogota.
Pence's urgent trip in the light of the Cucuta provocation raised concern in America, as Trump isn't in Washington either, having left for talks with Kim Jong-un. Now, the Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is in charge there. She and the Republicans are at each other's throats. While orchestrating a coup elsewhere, they might not notice one at home, malicious tongues whisper. But time isn't on the side of those promoting Guaido. Nicolás Maduro has successfully repelled a humanitarian attack.
Mike Pence is one of the major architects of the events involving Venezuela. He was the first to call Guaido, promising him that he'd be recognized as the president. The second mastermind, Marco Rubio, a senator from Florida, posted on Twitter a photo showing Gaddafi just some minutes before his death. The tweet is bound to be for Maduro. The hint is obvious.
The unrest on the Simón Bolívar Bridge is reminiscent of the bloody past of the color revolutions which the USA was involved in. The trucks with humanitarian aid were determined to have been set on fire by the same people that drove them. And Venezuelan law enforcement officers were supposed to be blamed for those vivid pictures. Here, Molotov cocktails are being prepared, and now they're throwing them into the trucks stuck in front of the checkpoint to heroically save the boxes from the fire. That wasn't for free, of course. After the retreat, one of the instigators was beaten right on the bridge for cheating with money.
The Lima Group meeting is to discuss ways to increase pressure on the Venezuelan government. It sounds vague, so everyone's watching Mike Pence. Latin American countries would, of course, like to stop at diplomatic pressure. A real war next door is incomparable to tear gas and rubber bullets. However, it's unclear how far the White House is ready to go.
Valentin Bogdanov and Ivan Utkin for Vesti from Bogota, Colombia.
This is what the Venezuela-Colombia border looks like today. This is the Simon Bolivar Bridge, in the middle of it we can see the burnt remaining of a truck. They tried to force humanitarian aid in it through the checkpoint. Now the border between the two countries is marked by this blue container. Some plainclothed people are guarding the border on the Colombian side. Right now, you can see them preparing barricades, while out of uniform. The so-called fight took place mainly on this bridge. Some stones can still be seen on the asphalt. As for the Venezuelan side, an enormous number of soldiers are on duty. They have helmets, nightsticks. Shields are also ready as well as armored vehicles in case another provocation occurs.
The masked men on the Colombian side are constantly growing in number. On the Venezuelan side, an emergency response group is also on duty with litters.
«We don't know what will happen next, but it's all quiet so far».
Colombian diplomats, whom Maduro, the incumbent president of Venezuela gave 24 hours to leave the country, are being escorted by Venezuelan police. Consuls and their families are crossing the border on foot, it is closed to everyone else. This is the main checkpoint which let cars pass from Colombia to Venezuela. Now there aren't any cars crossing the border. These are the windows which were used by those crossing the border on foot. They handed in their passports here. Nobody's working here now, the border is closed.
Those who really need to pass are crossing the border on the rocks in the river separating the two countries. Many people living in the border villages in Venezuela work in Colombia. On the whole, three bridges on the border have been blocked. Witnesses say that shooting can be heard from the Colombian side from time to time. The number of people involved from both sides is constantly increasing.
Anton Lyadov, Azat Atagonov, Javier Madrid for Vesti from the Venezuelan-Colombian border.