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PACARAIMA, Brazil (Sputnik) - The Brazilian National Public Security Force has expanded the security cordon in the border area with Venezuela to alleviate tensions following recent clashes, a Sputnik correspondent reported from the scene on 25 February.
In the early hours of 24 February, a Sputnik correspondent reported that a group of activists supporting the Venezuelan opposition in Brazil had attacked the border checkpoint near the Brazilian city of Pacaraima, setting a Venezuelan National Guard vehicle on fire. The attackers also threw sticks and stones at Venezuelan soldiers, who responded with tear gas.
Some of the tear gas grenades landed behind Brazil's borders, which prompted Brazilian troops to expand the security cordon by another 100 metres (328 feet) from the border. They then managed to push the crowd back from the Venezuelan border and thereby avoid new incidents.
On 24 February no new attempts were made to deliver humanitarian aid to Venezuela to Brazil after media reported that two trucks carrying 8 tonnes of humanitarian aid had arrived in Pacaraima on Venezuela's border the previous day.
Attempts to bring in unauthorised aid into Venezuela from neighbouring Colombia culminated in clashes on Saturday between Venezuelan law enforcement officers, who tried to prevent aid-filled trucks from crossing the country’s border without permission, and protesters. These attempts also prompted Caracas to sever diplomatic and political relations with Bogota. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said he believes that the aid deliveries are a ploy to topple his government.
The situation in crisis-torn Venezuela escalated on 23 January when the opposition leader, Juan Guaido, declared himself interim president, disputing last year's reelection of Maduro. Guaido was almost immediately recognised by the United States and some other countries. Russia, China and Mexico, among other nations, voiced support for Maduro, who, in turn, accused Washington of orchestrating a coup.
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