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Colombia Bars Entry to Over 200 Supporters of Venezuela’s Maduro - Reports

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MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – The Colombian authorities have banned over 200 Venezuelan officials and supporters of President Nicolas Maduro from entering the country amid the escalating political impasse in Venezuela, media reported, citing Christian Kruger, the head of Colombia's migration authority.

This decision had been taken as part of a deal reached by the Lima Group aimed at countering the Venezuelan government, the official added, as cited by the Republic news outlet on Wednesday.

Kruger added that the campaign against Caracas currently included measures that had been tentatively agreed upon, while the scale of the sanctions might be increased, according to the outlet.

READ MORE: African Union Supports Maduro Amid Political Crisis — Venezuelan FM

The publication added that Venezuelan national Ronald Ramirez was the first person denied entry to Colombia after he landed in the Barranquilla airport.

A supporter of Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido holds a flag while taking part in a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela January 30, 2019. - Sputnik International
Lima Group Seeks Contact With Russia, China on Venezuela Crisis – Guaido’s Envoy
Maduro has repeatedly accused Bogota of plotting to overthrow him. On Wednesday, the Venezuelan president suggested in an interview with Sputnik his US counterpart Donald Trump had hired Colombian assassins to kill him.

Venezuela is currently facing a political crisis and large anti-government protests. Opposition leader Juan Guaido has declared himself as the country's interim president, drawing support from the United States and a number of its allies and prompting harsh criticism on the part of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who called Guaido a "US puppet".

READ MORE: Mexico, Spain Call for ‘Dialogue Without Conditions’ in Venezuela — Obrador

The UK, Germany, France, and Spain declared on Saturday their intention to recognise Juan Guaido as the country's interim president if Caracas does not announce snap presidential elections within eight days. Several members of the Lima Group — Canada, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Columbia have also recognized Guaido as Venezuela's interim president.

In turn, Russia, Cuba, China, Turkey and Iran have given Maduro's government full support, with Maduro himself calling Venezuela "the victim of a US conspiracy", referring to US Vice President Mike Pence promising Guaido "full American support" the day before he declared himself Venezuela's new head of state. Maduro also stressed that Venezuela had held legitimate elections and urged European countries to withdraw their demand. 

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