- A month after two people died and 300 were injured in clashes at the Colombia-Venezuela border, a report from The New York Times suggests that a protester was likely behind an aid truck that caught on fire, not Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s troops, who US officials had thought were behind the incident.
- The report cites new footage of the event showing a protester throwing a Molotov cocktail minutes before an aid truck caught fire.
- US officials didn’t name Maduro in a statement but said he was responsible for “creating the conditions for violence.”
Last month, an US-backed effort to break Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro’s block on convoys at the border of Venezuela-Colombia and deliver foreign aid resulted on two people dead and another 300 injured.
The US government said that Maduro supporters were believed to be behind the chaos but a new report and video evidence from the New York Times suggests that a protester was seemingly responsible.
Unpublished footage reviewed by the New York Times looked at in conjunction with existing footage implies that an “antigovernment protester was the most likely trigger for the blaze.” The footage shows the same protester in a different video hitting a truck with a Molotov cocktail minutes before.
Here’s a video that shows some of the footage:
Aid trucks on the Venezuela-Colombia border were set ablaze by a protester, not pro-Maduro forces as was widely reported and claimed by the U.S. government – NYT pic.twitter.com/3cIbBVKOCE
— BNO News (@BNONews) March 10, 2019
Maduro’s handling of the economy has led to chaos in the country and caused three million people to leave in recent years.
In addition to questions about the protester, Maduro’s critics say that he ordered medication to be set on fire, but the videos do not show evidence about the claim.
“Eyewitness accounts indicate that the fire started when Maduro’s forces violently blocked the entry of humanitarian assistance,” American officials said in a statement after being contacted by the Times.
The officials still held Maduro responsible for “creating the conditions for violence,” said Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the National Security Council.
He added, “His thugs denied the entry of tons of food and medicine, while thousands of courageous volunteers sought to safeguard and deliver aid to Venezuelan families.”
Nearly 50 nations recognise Maduro’s rival, opposition leader Juan Guaido, as the nation’s rightful president. He has been calling for international aid to be allowed into the country, but Maduro’s soldiers have been ordered to stop shipments in because he says they are part of a coup to overthrow him.
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