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Mario Diaz-Balart and Marco Rubio tour a USAID facility in Cúcuta, Colombia with supplied awaiting delivery to Venezuela.

Federal

Marco Rubio, Mario Diaz-Balart broadcast conditions on Venezuelan border

Lawmakers shared images of blockades stopping humanitarian aid.

An overturned shipping container blocks truckloads of food and supplies from crossing the Tienditas Bridge between Colombia and Venezuela.

On Sunday evening, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio stood on that bridge.

Flanked by U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ambassador Carlos Trujillo, the Florida Republican served as international correspondent for world, via social media video.

“On that side there’s humanitarian aid,” Rubio says, pointing toward Cúcuta, Colombia. Then he pointed past containers to Venezuela, to people starving under the rule of Nicolás Maduro.

Rubio said the barriers were put in place by a “terrorist criminal regime.”

“This is what they are willing to do to keep food and medicine from reaching their own people, but it isn’t going to work,” he said.

Diaz-Balart said the scene showed the need for the world to rally around the Venezuelan people.

“They are dealing with a regime that wants their people to starve,” he said.

Tienditas Bridge on Feb. 17, 2019.

Trujillo, a former Florida state representative, called on soldiers at the border to let aid through and stand with citizens over the regime.

The three Florida Republicans served as standard-bearers now for U.S. international policy in South America.

President Donald Trump in January announced the U.S. no longer recognizes Maduro as Venezuela’s leader. Instead, the administration will acknowledge opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president until new elections are held.

Trump is expected to address the situation Monday afternoon in Miami.

Florida Congressional Democrats, who have vocally opposed the Maduro regime as well, called on the administration to adjust its asylum policies for Venezuelan refugees.

Rubio and Diaz-Balart took their own message to the Venezuela-Colombia border. The pols shared pictures of the scene on social media to illustrate the depths Maduro has gone to in order to isolate his people.

Crowds in Cúcuta greeted Rubio warmly, with refugees and dissidents flying the Venezuelan flag to greet the traveling official.

Diaz-Balart and Rubio visited a U.S. Agency for International Development warehouse filled with 300 metric tons of food and medicine, bundled in packages read to unload just over the border.

The Maduro “crime family,” Rubio wrote, “is doing everything they can to keep this from reaching their own people. This is pure evil.”

The lawmakers met with members of the National Assembly of Venezuela seeking to facilitate aid, including Lester Toledo, Gaby Arellano and Jose Manuel Olivares.

Toledo shared his own video of Rubio and Diaz-Balart.

“We were at the Simon Bolivar Bridge, to see the harsh reality that our brothers suffer,” Toledo wrote in Spanish, “but above all to give them strength, because the change is very close.”

Diaz-Balart addressed a crowd in Colombia and promised “The Maduro Dictatorship is running out of time,” as reported by NTN24 Venezuela.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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