Pence plans Colom­bia trip to de­mand Maduro re­sign

The Tribune (SLO) - - News - BY FRANCO ORDOÑEZ

WASH­ING­TON

Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence will go to Colom­bia on Mon­day to speak with the Colom­bian pres­i­dent and re­gional lead­ers about the on­go­ing tur­moil in Venezuela and rally the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity be­hind op­po­si­tion leader Juan Guaidó.

The White House said Pence will de­liver re­marks to the 14 na­tions that are part of the “Lima Group.” He’ll meet with Colom­bian Pres­i­dent Ivan Duque and other of­fi­cials from the Western Hemi­sphere “to de­fine con­crete steps that sup­port the Venezue­lan peo­ple and a tran­si­tion to democ­racy.”

Se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials said Pence will state plainly that “the time has come for Ni­colás Maduro to step aside.”

ALSO THURS­DAY

Bor­der closed: Maduro or­dered Venezuela’s bor­der with Brazil closed Thurs­day, part of his es­ca­lat­ing ef­fort to stop op­po­nents from send­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian aid into his poverty-stricken coun­try, ac­cord­ing to New York Times re­ports.

Guaidó, the par­lia­men­tary op­po­si­tion leader who de­clared him­self pres­i­dent of Venezuela last month, has vowed to bring tons of aid do­nated by the United States and oth­ers into Venezuela on Satur­day. Maduro, who has called Guaidó an Amer­i­can lackey, has vowed not to let the aid in.

The Brazil-bor­der clo­sure, an­nounced on tele­vi­sion, fol­lowed a Venezue­lan govern­ment an­nounce­ment Wed­nes­day that it would block air and sea travel be­tween Venezuela and three Caribbean is­lands where the op­po­si­tion said it wished to stage re­lief sup­plies.

Prom­i­nent de­fec­tor: A for­mer in­tel­li­gence chief in Venezuela who is one of the govern­ment’s most prom­i­nent fig­ures turned against Maduro on Thurs­day, call­ing him a dic­ta­tor with a cor­rupt in­ner cir­cle that has en­gaged in drug traf­fick­ing and courted the mil­i­tant group Hezbol­lah.

In in­ter­views with The New York Times, for­mer In­tel­li­gence Chief Hugo Car­va­jal, 58, a con­gress­man in the gov­ern­ing So­cial­ist Party, urged the mil­i­tary to break with the pres­i­dent be­fore a show­down with the op­po­si­tion Satur­day over Maduro’s block­ade of aid ship­ments on the coun­try’s bor­ders.

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