Maduro orders closure of Venezuela-Colombia border. How will Guaidó respond?

Thousands make the daily journey across Simon Bolivar Bridge in the hopes of finding a better life. It has now been temporarily closed by Venezuelan authorities. Photo by Arjun Harindranath

Almost as soon as Juan Guaidó arrived in Colombia, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has locked the door behind him.

In a statement released via Venezuelan Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez, Maduro ordered that the border crossings into Colombia be closed off. On her twitter account, Rodriguez said that  “due to the serious and illegal threats attempted by the Government of Colombia against the peace and sovereignty of Venezuela, it has taken the decision of a temporary total closure of the Simón Bolívar, Santander and Unión bridges!”

The bridges referred to as Simón Bolivar and Francisco de Paula Santander are pedestrian bridges and account for the majority of migration from Venezuela to Colombia. Simon Bolivar bridge alone sees over 70,000 migrants cross every day to find a better life or purchase hard-to-find groceries or pharmaceuticals in Colombia.

The closing of the bridges in the border city of Cúcuta now affects plans–initiated by Venezuelan opposition leader Guaidó– to transport aid across the border. The aim behind the move is to test the loyalties of the Venezuelan armed forces by choosing either to defend the borders by any means necessary or allow for the humanitarian aid to pass through.

Bridges connecting Colombia and Venezuela. Map created with Google Maps.

The closure will increase the anxiety around the possibility of violence this morning at the border crossings. On Friday morning, as a result of the closure of the border with Brazil, Reuters reported that two members of an indigenous group were killed and 15 injured by armed forces preventing them from entering with humanitarian aid.

President Maduro has also closed off the maritime borders with the Dutch islands of Curaçao, Antilles, Aruba and Bonaire in an attempt to defend Venezuela’s borders from humanitarian aid entering for political purposes. Although willing to accept humanitarian aid recently from Russia, Maduro remains opposed to allowing aid from rival countries.

Prominent NGOs like The Red Cross have spoken out strongly against the politicised nature of the aid provided by the US and other geopolitical rivals to Venezuela.

Guaidó addresses a small crowd in Colombia after having arrived at Venezuela Live Aid. Photo by Nicolás Galeano – Presidencia

Will Guaidó seize his political moment?

It has been a month since Guaidó first declared himself interim President of Venezuela, a gamble that succeeded in winning the approval of many Western nations as well as that of the Lima Group in Latin America.

However, despite this initial victory, the young leader of the National Assembly has been slow to win over the military; a fact that leaves the possibilities of today on edge. Although Guaidó received a rockstar reception on Friday on his arrival in Colombia at Venezuela Live Aid, at this stage, very few members of the armed forces have defected in his favour.

By way of comparison, more members of the military had defected in the 2002 coup attempt against former president Hugo Chavez. That coup deposed of Chavez for around two days but he was able to wrest back power and rule Venezuela until his death in 2013.

Guaidó is probably aware that history isn’t on his side and that Maduro won’t go down without a fight. But he’s also aware that the world’s eyes are on Cúcuta right now, so much so he may be willing to pull off a second gamble today. To complicate matters though, his arrival in Colombia violates a travel ban on him imposed by Maduro so he risks being arrested tomorrow were he to cross back into Venezuela.

His decision will be based on weighing up the security of his followers over the possibility that he can cause real change in Venezuelan politics. He will also be more emboldened if he has a sizeable presence supporting him at both ends of the bridge.

There is still little word as to what might happen from Guaido’s camp as of Friday night. Saturday morning will shed more light on which path he’ll take.


  1. I’ve said this years ago w/Chavez, and I’m saying it again now…THE U.S has OTHER reasons for needing to deal w/certain organizations (not just drug orgs….those aren’t the problem as we buy it, so it will always be around somehwere) HOWEVER, radicalized Russian/Bolivar + Cuba backed crazies are EVERYWHERE below where I live today if you simply go south past Florida Key West/Cuban coastal areas…It’s insane, they just shoot at people in airboats exporing because they’re afraid if they’re asked by their intel handlers/officers whatever, that they’ll warn the US Coast Guard who will, w/the Navy would be there in moments (as I suspect what we saw/heard about was bad enough that either these are OBVIOUSLY mostly Cuban CTE type ex Special Forces working as contractors, or are active duty which is scarier)
    As somebody who has SEEN WITH MY OWN EYES on multiple occasions, while being raised under San Diego CA by the border w/Mexico, there later (in ’05 time period) numerous Venezuelan fomer/ex Special Operations groups turn to allied thugs w/Mexican elements like Los Zetas ALL THE WAY that far up into the north..not just that, we saw Guatamalan ex Kaibiles SF type thugs, we saw even empty packages of what we thought were Iranian IRGC cigar boxes but theyy had spaces cut inside for explosives…THAT is actually where the beheading started strongest, when it kicked up the violence in the 2000s, was in the Sinaloan territories which EXACTLY where we found Iranian-type logos of the Revoltionary Guard (who’d been coming ALSO from Venezuela) on empty cases that contained rifle ammo…This wasnt that far past Encinada in BAJA!! That’s how far it went…then decapitation was everywhere, horrible…just evil…THIS is where I was working security contracting from 2005 to around 2009…later I find out it’s gotten worse, and it did…ALL OF IT CAME FROM CARACAS.. I called Mexican Marine Corps officers who were retiring and he said they’d detained (and sometimes were forced to kill because these Venezuelan ex military SF thugs just would ambush cops & Marines in their vehicles at night maybe sleeping or ambush tourists)…
    I completely understand Duque possibly not wanting to fight/militarily intervene or “invade” (it’s already been invaded by Iran AND Russia AND Cuba, but whatever, semantics) HOWEVER THERE IS ONE FACT, THAT I CANNOT DENY HERE. I am NOT POLICITICAL, NOT LEFT OR RIGHT, NOT A REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT (MY PARENTS ARE RIGHT/REPUBLICAN) AND I WAS RAISED TO BE NEITHER AND FIGHT FOR ONLY WHAT’S RIGHT. That’s because, not long ago, when I traveled in the Caribbean region recently A LOT and went down past Key West Florida to these small, small unnamed islands…There are Cuban, dressed as civlians/immigrants/etc as well as supposedly Venezuelan refugees but being forced by Venezuelan fleeing military members and the regugees are family? or it’s human trafficking? ALL I DO KNOW, is what was happening, and it’s not surprising it’s not on the news. Right now, we in most of N. America can’t trust media or news from any one or two sources…I KNOW WHY, though, because there are too many fake planted stories “of false flag operations, framing up the U.S as the usual typical aggressor” by Russian proxy groups (and others like their own GRU political directorate) because Putin IS NOT GOING TO SPEND ALL THAT MONEY ON CUBAN SOF/VENEZUELAN SEBIN ETC AND JUST LEAVE…LOL
    I see what’s happening and it’s NOT about us “evil pig imperialist Americans getting this for oil”!! WE DO HOWEVER WANT TO BUY IT LIKE NORMAL GOVERNMENTS MAY, but the ACTUAL REASON is that before Maduro’s dumb fat ass, it was Chavez and his psychos I saw in Baja…IT JUST KEEPS COMING UP TO US. You guys in Colombia live next to it, and understand how tough that might be for regular folks in Venezuela (when you see news/media showing rich people walking around malls in Caracas? Those are media outlets backed by other umbrella groups like RT media…it makes us loook like Putin…HE is doing the “Iraq” deal right now as we speak, he frames Ukraine and Georgia as dangerous before invading one in 2008 and Ukriane/Crimea in 2013 and 14 or whatever…He was PRACTICING and doing test runs to see what people would believe then test the miltiary as well, then push all the way in and just snatch it up. Guaido is a normal dude…he’s just a guy who is a great leader who doesn’t want the people to have to all run for their lives in a giant war. But MADURO IS INSANE…The guy is the Spanish Stalin…people act like they love him, but how many ACTUALLY do (and not out of subconcsious fear??) …? MAYBE ONE THIRD IF THAT? ha…yeah right…I know that when I saw the shooting in the keys, the Florida Natural Resources dept/Park Ranger Everglades type guys who patrolled areas like that were the ones w/the Coast Guard and THAT WAS WHY THERE WERE NO REPORTS REALLY HERE…Panic is the last thing people need when they are starting to see Trump doing this, which is better than going after some other country…I AM APOLITICAL AS I SAID, but if he is going to punch someone in the face like a drunken uncle at a party in South America, I KNOW it’s loooong over due for Venezuelan military/cartel thugs inside the services, corrupting the GOOD officers. We know it’s not even 70% of the military that wants to stay and fight…I have friends in the US Special Operations world..They retired but may be sent there, and they know there’s Hezbollah, Russian GRU Alpha group-hired Wagner contract killers worse than any American military contractors (and i would know) because the Iranian ones were hired for beheading people…so…I think that’s something we don’t need, and sure, if they are the ones w/oil they can’t manage for the last TEN YEARS??? and starve people enough to drive them to American borders (willing to DIE today to avoid suffering tomorrow from Maduro and the effects of starvation/rape/violence etc) and again, if we’re now suddenly not concerned as much with drug organizations and almost letting them pass because we know Venezuelan/Cuban intel backed thugs are clsoeby, that’s going to be SOOOOOO much worse for Colombians, Brazlians, and for even Guyana who didn’t WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS.

    I know our military knows that…..I know even if Colombian & Brazilian top advisors know it too, as well as the people…..We just FINISHED FINALLY in soooo much fighting and are about to leave the whole Afghan/Syrian/Iraq problem behind w/just a handful of our best SF units to keep an eye and help people get what they need if so…NOT FOR OIL as THAT is why Putin is there….he’s smart…He’s already made this look manufactured as a revolution, than denies things, or says its sanctions (which were for Chavez, and HIS ACTIONS, not on their people, he knows better)….It’s terrible unedcated folks who aren’t bilingual in America (I grew up speaking Spanish, white, and able to see both sides of a problem, not just one…it’s not just race/drugs/blah blah….it’s always something deeper. If we go to Venezuela it’s the same as when we had to help those UN Paks in Somalia (they had ZERO oil and still we sent humanitarian aid in, so the fact they find explosives in soem aid boxes means our gov intelligence guys are just getting a backup plan together…why wouldn’t you…This is gonna be ugly if he just doesn’t leave, but oh well..he’s nuts.


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