Turn in Venezuela Crisis Hinges on Aid Showdown at Border

Turn in Venezuela Crisis Hinges on Aid Showdown at Border

Yet no one knows how the aid will reach Venezuela. The opposition has so far been quiet about details of its plans, saying that if they released information Mr. Maduro would stymie them with his security forces.

But Gaby Arellano, an opposition lawmaker sent by Mr. Guaidó to coordinate the aid, said that the opposition did not necessarily have to use the blocked Tienditas Bridge.

“The border with Colombia is immensely long, and so is the border with Brazil, and the border with the Antilles,” she said. “We want the aid to be coming in at all points.”

For more than a week, activists and officials have said they are mulling the option of simply smuggling in aid through Venezuela’s porous land borders, along routes long used to transport contraband products and fuel. Opposition activists have said they have already joined forces with the Pemones indigenous community in eastern Venezuela to bring in supplies by river, using their canoes.

Another option, pushed by those looking for a more direct confrontation with Mr. Maduro, would have activists circle an aid truck in Colombia as it slowly makes its approach to Venezuela. Under this plan, protesters from Venezuela would overrun soldiers stationed on the Venezuelan side and allow the aid to move in, possibly using a forklift to push aside the containers blocking the bridge.

In Curacao, opposition officials were buoyed by the willingness of the country’s foreign minister to stage aid along a sea corridor long used by Venezuelan migrants to flee the country. But in recent days, plans appeared to be falling apart as politicians in Curacao objected to the use of the aid as a political weapon.

The uncertainty has left some in Venezuela not counting on aid anytime soon.

“They say they are in charge of the government, but the ones who are in charge are the ones who control the bridge,” said Héctor Cárdenas, 52, who crossed the border to buys a month’s worth of cooking oil, vegetables, soap and medicines in Colombia. “The opposition has no real power.”

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