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Brazil: Army patrols at Venezuelan border
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Brazilian President, Michel Temer says, "It is no longer a matter of a country's internal politics, but one that goes beyond the borders of many countries and threatens the harmony of our entire continent." The United Nations describes the mass exodus
Venezuelan economic crisis is now a 'threat' to the entire continentThinkProgress
Brazil may limit entrance of Venezuelans via northern border: TemerReuters
Brazilian army to halt Venezuela exodusThe Times
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Venezuela: Maduro critic rejects ‘absurd’ claim he plotted to kill president

Julio Borges, living in exile in Colombia, attacks Maduro as other opposition leaders say apparent assassination bid was legitimate

A prominent Venezuelan opposition leader has repudiated “absurd” claims he was part of an alleged bid to assassinate chairman Nicolas Maduro, as other members of the anti-Maduro resistance movement cheered what they called a legitimate and humiliating strike on a tyrannical regime.

In an interview with CNN en Espanol Julio Borges, the former head of Venezuela’s national assembly, denied any role in what Maduro claims was a foreign-backed plot to behead his leadership with drones carrying plastic explosives.

Venezuela’s supreme court ordered Borges’ arrest on Wednesday, four days after the two attacks, on charges of treason and attempted slaying. Hours earlier another opposition lawmaker, Juan Requesens, was confiscated from his Caracas home on similar charges.

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Borges, who are living in exile in Colombia, claimed Venezuela’s president was employing the” supposed magnicide” try as a smokescreen to conceal the country’s social and economic breakdown.” It’s incredible how Nicolas Maduro makes a victim of himself whilst it is he who is responsible for the exodus of millions of Venezuelans ,” he told CNN.

Borges, who last year accepted a European parliament human rights award on behalf of Venezuela’s opposition, said it was not the first time he had been accused of scheming to assassinate Maduro, who took power after Hugo Chavez’s death in 2013. He said:” A few years ago they accused me … of planning to hijack a Brazilian Tucano[ fighter plane] on the border and was of the view that I myself was going to fly it over Caracas to bombard the Miraflores palace .”

But while Borges distanced himself from the apparent assassination attempt, some members of Venezuela’s exiled resistance movement voiced understanding or approval for what they called a legitimate attempt to bring down an autocratic regime.

Quick guide

Why is Venezuela in crisis?

Under the late Hugo Chavez, who ushered in Venezuela’s socialist revolution in 1999, a new constitution and numerous elections placed nearly all government institutions for the purposes of the control of the ruling Socialist party.

This concentration of power was aided by a feuding opposition which carried out ineffectual campaigns and electoral boycott. After Chavez succumbed of cancer in 2013, he was succeeded by Nicolas Maduro who is even less tolerant of dissent.

Growing political authoritarianism has coincided with greater country predominance over the economy. But expropriations, price controls and mismanagement have led to a 40% contraction of the economy in the past five years.

Oil accounts for 96% of Venezuela’s export income but many foreign companies have been driven out and production has dropped to a 30 -year low.

The resulting fiscal crisis has prompted the government to publish more fund, which has led to hyperinflation and a breakdown of the currency.

It also means that the government can’t importation enough food and medication to meet demand.

Maduro has repudiated economic reforms out of allegiance to socialism and because many government officials are allegedly get rich off the economic twistings- through exchange rate swindles and by selling scarce food on the black market.

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Omar Lares, a former opposition mayor who fled to Colombia last year, told the Guardian:” Ultimately those responsible for this attack are those in the totalitarianism because they have closed all the democratic and peaceful solutions to reach agreements. No-one wants to meet with them , no-one believes what they say .”

” So people are looking for a way out- whether it’s members of the military, students, registered political party- all of them are looking for a way out because the situation is grave. The situation in Venezuela gets worse every day .”

Roderick Navarro, a Brazil-based resistance leader who left the country last August, said he supported the action- although claimed it was designed to scare and humiliate Maduro not kill him.

” The main goal of last Saturday wasn’t to kill Maduro, just to threaten him, and make him afraid of the people around him ,” by showing members of his inner circle were collaborating with the resistance, said Navarro, one of the founders of the Rumbo Libertad dissident group.

However, Navarro acknowledged members of the underground military resistance within Venezuela did consider Maduro- who he called ” the head of the most dangerous criminal organization in Latin America”- fair game.

” Power in Venezuela is controlled by offenders. So the[ rebel] military forces and police forces are just doing their chore. They want to restore the principles of the rule of statute, and, yeah, I think they insure Maduro and other leaders as a military objective .”

” What can we, the civil resistance, do ?” Navarro added.” We can simply support them .”

Nikki
Nikki Haley at the Simon Bolivar bridge on the border between Colombia and Venezuela. Haley said Maduro had’ made this chaos ‘. Photograph: Schneyder Mendoza/ AFP/ Getty Images

During a visit to Colombia’s border with Venezuela on Wednesday, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, also indicated Maduro had brought the attack on himself.” He did this by creating this chaos ,” she said, according to the Washington Post.

Venezuelan authorities allege Borges and Requesens, who have been stripped of their immunity from prosecution, were part of a plot to assassinate Maduro that also included conspirators in Colombia and the United States. According to nation media, Diosdado Cabello, one of the most powerful members of Maduro’s government, said the politicians should face justice for their role in” this abhorrent act of terrorism “.

Geoff Ramsey, a Venezuela expert from the Washington Office on Latin american states, said he doubted the authors of the the botched droning attack had been in direct contact with either Borges or Requesens. Rather, Ramsey said, the charges against them were a clear endeavor” to crack down on the more vocal and confrontational elements of the opposition “.

Navarro said he believed the pair were being scapegoated and claims of their involvement were” fake news “. But he painted Saturday’s attack as a victory since it depicted Maduro was not untouchable.

” I think there is a lot of hope right now. Whether it was successful or not, the people considered a totalitarianism[ that was] afraid, watched Maduro fretted, find the military forces running scared .”

Ramsey said he was unconvinced by asserts the attack was ” a shot in the arm for the opposition “.

” The opposition is more divided than ever. In fact, as it currently stands there doesn’t seem to be much of an organised opponent in Venezuela ,” he said.

” So had this assassination endeavor succeeded it would most likely have empowered chavista military men to take charge and stimulate Venezuela into more of a classical military dictatorship. Or it could have been used to begin some kind of armed conflict between rival factions within chavismo .”

” I don’t think the opponent- had this operation succeeded- would have been in any shape to capitalise on it ,” Ramsey added.

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