By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazilian authorities say they are still planning to deliver tons of aid to Venezuela on Saturday (February 23rd) despite the closing of the border by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Brazilian officials, however, reiterated that it will only supply humanitarian aid and does not plan to intervene politically in its neighbor’s domestic crisis.
“The plans of the Brazilian government remain the same…The intention of the Brazilian State is to help our Venezuelan brothers through humanitarian operations. The Brazilian government does not identify, at this moment, possibilities of friction in the region because the focal point is humanitarian aid,” said Presidential spokesman Otávio do Rêgo Barros dismissing the possibility of a confrontation at the border with Venezuelan soldiers, commanded by Maduro.
The Brazilian shipment includes twenty tons of powdered milk, medicine and 500 first aid kits.
Brazil’s vice president, General Hamilton Mourão, repeated what has been said by other Brazilian officials: that the Brazilian government has no plans of intervention in Venezuela.
“The Brazilian government has always made it clear that our action will always be in the direction of nonintervention. We will only maintain internal pressure and words along with the other countries that are cooperating in the effort for Venezuela to return to democracy,” he told reporters on Thursday.
Mourão is schedule to accompany foreign affairs chancellor, Ernesto Araújo, to Colombia next Monday (February 25th) to discuss the Venezuelan situation with the Lima Group. The Lima Group, made up of Brazil and thirteen other Latin American countries, released a declaration in January where it stated that it did not recognize President Nicolas Maduro’s new term as Venezuela’s president.
“The Lima Group maintains the political pressure. The policy, through diplomatic action, to lead the current ruler of Venezuela, Maduro, to understand that a departure is necessary for the country,” added Mourão.
On Thursday, Maduro announced he was closing ‘until further notice’ the border passages between Venezuela and Brazil. Since the Venezuelan economic and political crisis began, more than two years ago, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have crossed over the border into Brazil through the state of Roraima, seeking for better living conditions.