CLOSE

Venezuela's National Guard has fired a tear gas on residents clearing a barricaded border bridge between Venezuela and Colombia to let humanitarian aid pass through. (Feb. 23)
     AP

CUCUTA, Colombia – Venezuela's National Guard fired on gas on residing in Colombia on Saturday, as the opposition started making good on its high-risk plan to deliver humanitarian aid to Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro.

By midday, opposition leader Juan Guaido pulled himself down to a semitruck and shook hands with his driver as he and Colombian president Ivan Duque gave a ceremonial 200 metric tons of mostly US-supplied emergency food and medical supplies from the Colombian border city of Cucuta.

"Our call to the armed forces could not be clearer: put yourself on the right side of history," he said in an appeal to troops who constitute Maduro's last-remaining major plank of support in a country ravaged by hyperinflation and widespread shortages.

The opposition is calling on masses of Venezuelans to form a "hu Manitarian avalanche "A woman with a national flag waits on the side of a"

(Photo11: YURI CORTEZ, AFP / Getty Images)

But clashes started at dawn in the Venezuelan border town of Urena, when residents began removing the metal barricades and barbed wire blocking the Francisco de Paula Santander bridge , Venezuela's National Guard responded forcefully, firing tear gas and buckshot on the protesters, some of them masked youth throwing rocks,

Later, the youth commandeered a city bus and set it afire. Venezuela's government and opposition comes one day after Guaido, a 35-year-old lawmaker, has declared himself interim.

President based on a controversial reading of the constitution. Maduro is crucial.

"We're tired. There's no work, nothing, "Andreina Montanez, 31, said she was recovering from the stinking of gas.

A single mom said she's lost her job as a seamstress in December 10-year-old daughter's fears that she was left orphaned when she decided to join Saturday's protest.

"I told her I had to go out on the streets because there's no bread," she said. "But still, these soldiers are scary. It's like they're hunting us. "

At the Simon Bolivar Bridge, a group of volunteers in blue vests calmly walking up to a police line and shaking off officers' hands, appealing for them to join their fight.

At the same post, four National Guardsmen deserted the force early in the day and took refuge in Colombia.

The Colombian authorities shows three of them wading through a crowd with their assault rifles and pistols held together in a sign of surrender.

"I've spent a few days thinking about this," said one of the soldiers, whose identity was not immediately known ,

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

Show Captions