Photos: Showdowns at Venezuela’s borders over aid, military support

A critical moment for both Venezuela's government and opposition comes exactly one month after 35-year-old lawmaker Juan Guaido declared himself interim president under the constitution before thousands of cheering supporters. While he has earned popular backing and is being recognized by over 50 nations, he has not sealed the support of the military, whose loyalty is considered crucial to unseat Maduro. The opposition is planning to hold three simultaneous humanitarian aid pushes from closed border crossings on Saturday in a test of strength and support from the military.

UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2019 11:35 AM IST 8 Photos
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A man carries his suitcase through a field as he tries to cross the border between Venezuela and Brazil in Pacaraima, Roraima state, Brazil. Venezuelans frustrated over their nation’s crippling food and medical shortages are expected to join opposition leaders Saturday in a potentially risky push to deliver international aid that Nicolas Maduro has refused to accept into the country. (Ricardo Moraes / REUTERS)

A man carries his suitcase through a field as he tries to cross the border between Venezuela and Brazil in Pacaraima, Roraima state, Brazil. Venezuelans frustrated over their nation’s crippling food and medical shortages are expected to join opposition leaders Saturday in a potentially risky push to deliver international aid that Nicolas Maduro has refused to accept into the country. (Ricardo Moraes / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2019 11:35 AM IST
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The opposition is calling on Venezuelans to help trucks carrying nearly 200 metric tons of humanitarian assistance delivered largely by the US over the last two weeks across several border bridges in Colombia. Once the trucks reach the border they’ll face a crucial test: Whether the military standing guard (pictured here in Pacaraima) will let them through. (Ricardo Moraes / REUTERS)

The opposition is calling on Venezuelans to help trucks carrying nearly 200 metric tons of humanitarian assistance delivered largely by the US over the last two weeks across several border bridges in Colombia. Once the trucks reach the border they’ll face a crucial test: Whether the military standing guard (pictured here in Pacaraima) will let them through. (Ricardo Moraes / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2019 11:35 AM IST
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A Venezuelan soldier gestures to guide people at the border in Pacaraima. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said the military would “never have orders to fire on the civilian population” and likened the aid push to a media spectacle. “We can only hope that sanity and good sense prevail…” he said at UN headquarters in New York Friday. (Ricardo Moraes / REUTERS)

A Venezuelan soldier gestures to guide people at the border in Pacaraima. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said the military would “never have orders to fire on the civilian population” and likened the aid push to a media spectacle. “We can only hope that sanity and good sense prevail…” he said at UN headquarters in New York Friday. (Ricardo Moraes / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2019 11:35 AM IST
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People at the border between Venezuela and Brazil. International leaders including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres are appealing for the sides to avoid violence as the opposition tries to get food and medical supplies across bridges that Venezuelan authorities ordered closed Friday night. In previous waves of unrest, citizens have been tear-gassed and even killed during protests. (Ricardo Moraes / REUTERS)

People at the border between Venezuela and Brazil. International leaders including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres are appealing for the sides to avoid violence as the opposition tries to get food and medical supplies across bridges that Venezuelan authorities ordered closed Friday night. In previous waves of unrest, citizens have been tear-gassed and even killed during protests. (Ricardo Moraes / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2019 11:35 AM IST
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The US has repeatedly said “all options,” including military, are on the table. But Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao dismissed US threats of military intervention in Venezuela as “premature” and said it “wouldn’t make sense.” “I think they’re more in the realm of rhetoric than action,” Mourao said of the threats in an interview with AFP. (Sergio Lima / AFP)

The US has repeatedly said “all options,” including military, are on the table. But Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao dismissed US threats of military intervention in Venezuela as “premature” and said it “wouldn’t make sense.” “I think they’re more in the realm of rhetoric than action,” Mourao said of the threats in an interview with AFP. (Sergio Lima / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2019 11:35 AM IST
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People begin to fill the Venezuela Aid Live concert on the outskirts of Cucuta, Colombia.The aid push comes on the heels of this giant concert organized by British billionaire Richard Branson aimed at pressuring Maduro to accept the aid. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans gathered in a field to hear pop stars like Juanes sing beneath a scorching sun. Guaido made a surprise appearance toward the end. (Fernando Vergara / AP)

People begin to fill the Venezuela Aid Live concert on the outskirts of Cucuta, Colombia.The aid push comes on the heels of this giant concert organized by British billionaire Richard Branson aimed at pressuring Maduro to accept the aid. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans gathered in a field to hear pop stars like Juanes sing beneath a scorching sun. Guaido made a surprise appearance toward the end. (Fernando Vergara / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2019 11:35 AM IST
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A woman shouts “Freedom!” as she walks with her family towards the Venezuela Aid Live concert on the Colombian side of the border. The opposition is planning to hold three simultaneous aid pushes on Saturday. Aside from the events in Colombia, they also hope to get humanitarian assistance delivered by sea and through Venezuela’s remote border with Brazil. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

A woman shouts “Freedom!” as she walks with her family towards the Venezuela Aid Live concert on the Colombian side of the border. The opposition is planning to hold three simultaneous aid pushes on Saturday. Aside from the events in Colombia, they also hope to get humanitarian assistance delivered by sea and through Venezuela’s remote border with Brazil. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2019 11:35 AM IST
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Venezuela’s military has served as its traditional arbiter of political disputes and in recent weeks top leaders have pledged unwavering loyalty to Maduro. Opposition leaders are pushing forward in belief that whether Maduro lets the aid in or not, he will come out weakened. They also contend that if the military does allow the food and medical gear in, it will signify troops are now loyal to Guaido. (Ricardo Moraes / REUTERS)

Venezuela’s military has served as its traditional arbiter of political disputes and in recent weeks top leaders have pledged unwavering loyalty to Maduro. Opposition leaders are pushing forward in belief that whether Maduro lets the aid in or not, he will come out weakened. They also contend that if the military does allow the food and medical gear in, it will signify troops are now loyal to Guaido. (Ricardo Moraes / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2019 11:35 AM IST
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