2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders took to Twitter on Saturday to call for an end to the humanitarian suffering in Venezuela.
“The people of Venezuela are enduring a serious humanitarian crisis. The Maduro government must put the needs of its people first, allow humanitarian aid into the country, and refrain from violence against protesters,” wrote Sanders.
Pink Floyd frontman and prominent BDS supporter Roger Waters slammed Sanders for his tweet, replying, “Bernie, are you f-ing kidding me! if you buy the Trump, Bolton, Abrams, Rubio line, 'humanitarian intervention' and collude in the destruction of Venezuela, you cannot be credible candidate for President of the USA. Or, maybe you can, maybe you’re the perfect stooge for the 1%.”
Waters then tweeted several videos with the hashtag #HandsOffVenezuela arguing for “self-determination” for the people of Venezuela.
On Saturday, troops loyal to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro blocked convoys of U.S. humanitarian aid from crossing from Colombia to Venezuela, using teargas and rubber bullets and killing two protesters.
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The violence could lead the United States to impose new sanctions as early as Monday to cut off the Maduro's government access to revenues.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence plans to have his first meeting with Venezuela's Juan Guaido in Colombia on Monday, Pence aides said, in a signal of support for the opposition leader after a weekend of violence.
Pence is traveling to the Colombian capital Bogota to meet with the Lima Group of regional leaders who recognize Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela after Maduro held elections last year which were dismissed as fraudulent.
A senior U.S. official told reporters on Friday that Pence would be prepared to announce new sanctions at the meeting if the aid was turned back, - adding to pressure from sanctions on state-owned oil company PDVSA.
"If there is any type of violence, or if there is any type of negative reaction from the hierarchy of the Venezuela armed forces, there may also be measures that are announced by the vice president and other countries in regards to closing even further the international financial circle," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The United States and allies are looking at ways to expel family members of Venezuelan military officials who are living outside the country, including some in south Florida, the official said.
Maduro has denied there are shortages of food and medicine in Venezuela, and says the aid is aimed at undermining his government.
Pence spoke to Guaido by phone in January before the opposition leader, who heads Venezuela's national assembly, swore himself in as interim president.