Venezuela’s Maduro says border with Colombia to reopen

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro announced the reopening of the frontier on Twitter. (File/AFP)
Updated 08 June 2019
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Venezuela’s Maduro says border with Colombia to reopen

  • The Venezuelan government in May reopened its land border with Brazil and the sea route with Aruba
  • Relations between Venezuela and Colombia have been broken since Feb. 23

CARACAS: Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro on Friday ordered the reopening of the country’s border with Colombia in western Tachira state, near where international aid refused by Caracas has amassed.
The economically-devastated South American nation is suffering from shortages of food, medicine and other essentials amid a power struggle between Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has been recognized as interim president by more than 50 countries including the United States.
Announcing the reopening of the frontier on Twitter, Maduro said: “We are a people of peace that strongly defends our independence and self-determination.”
The leader, however, did not say whether crucial border bridges, closed since August 2015 after two Venezuelan soldiers were wounded by suspected smugglers, would be unblocked.
Maduro in February ordered the total closure of land frontiers with Brazil and Colombia, as well as sea and air links with the Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean.
Guaido wanted to bring food and medicine into the country, but the Maduro-backed army blocked the border bridges and prevented the entry of cargo.
Maduro says Venezuela is the victim of an “economic war” waged by the United States and believes the aid was a smoke screen to prepare a “foreign invasion.”
The Venezuelan government in May reopened its land border with Brazil and the sea route with Aruba, but not with other islands such as Bonaire and Curacao.
Relations between Venezuela and Colombia, who share a land border stretching 2,220 kilometers (1,380 miles), have been broken since February 23 after Colombian President Ivan Duque announced his support for Guaido.
Many Venezuelans cross the frontier illegally every day to get supplies because of the serious shortage of basic necessities.


New York City Mayor de Blasio ends 2020 presidential bid

Updated 20 September 2019

New York City Mayor de Blasio ends 2020 presidential bid

  • The mayor, who is barred from seeking a third four-year term in New York in 2021, struggled to build a national profile and stand out in a crowded field
  • De Blasio had failed to qualify for a Sept. 12 debate that featured the 10 leading candidates for the party’s nomination

NEW YORK: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday said during an MSNBC television appearance that he was dropping out of the 2020 presidential campaign.
De Blasio, 58, launched his candidacy in May with the central campaign message “Working People First,” becoming the 24th Democrat to attempt to take on President Donald Trump in next year’s election.
The mayor, who is barred from seeking a third four-year term in New York in 2021, struggled to build a national profile and stand out in a crowded field that includes former Vice President Joe Biden and a long list of experienced politicians.
News of the mayor ending his presidential bid was greeted with sarcasm by Trump.
“Oh no, really big political news, perhaps the biggest story in years! Part time Mayor of New York City, @BilldeBlasio, who was polling at a solid ZERO but had tremendous room for growth, has shocking dropped out of the Presidential race,” Trump tweeted early on Friday. “NYC is devastated, he’s coming home!“
De Blasio had registered little support in polls and was eclipsed by progressive US senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
De Blasio said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that a “central reason” for his decision was the party’s rules for qualifying for televised debates. He had failed to qualify for a Sept. 12 debate that featured the 10 leading candidates for the party’s nomination.
“The bar is so high so early that for a lot of us — clearly, some of my fellow chief executives, governors — couldn’t make that cut,” de Blasio said. “It’s clear to me it’s a high bar, and that it’s one I’m not going to be able to meet.”
De Blasio had emphasized during the campaign a list of progressive wins under his leadership, including universal pre-kindergarten, the end of the policing practice known as stop-and-frisk and paid sick leave, all in a city that has a bigger population, more than 8 million, than most US states.
Most New Yorkers had appeared unenthused about de Blasio’s presidential aspirations. A Quinnipiac University poll in April found more than three-quarters of New Yorkers did not feel he should make a White House bid.