The UN Security Council (UNSC) held an open meeting on Tuesday, February 26, to discuss the international community's response to the deterioration of humanitarian conditions and political stability in Venezuela. The meeting follows a weekend of violent clashes between protesters and security forces across the country in which at least four protesters were killed, at least 300 others were wounded, and several more were reported missing. Clashes were particularly intense along Venezuela's border with Colombia. Additionally, several journalists have been deported from the country. The US also announced new sanctions on Venezuela on Monday, February 25.
Additional opposition-led protests are to be expected across Venezuela over the coming days and weeks as the political crisis continues. A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are to be expected near demonstration sites. Associated clashes between security forces and opposition protesters are likely.
The clashes immediately preceding the meeting relate to opposition leader Juan Guaidó's calls for new opposition-led anti-government protests aimed at ousting President Nicolás Maduro's government and securing the delivery of humanitarian aid. Maduro's government retained control over border checkpoints and maritime borders during clashes February 23-25. Venezuelan officials indicate Maduro's initial border closure was implemented to prevent deliveries of humanitarian aid. Border crossings are not guaranteed amid a heightened security presence at points of entry across Venezuela.
The current crisis was spurred by Maduro's inauguration to a second term as president on January 10 following last year's contested election, prompting the National Assembly to declare a national emergency. At least 50 foreign governments, including the US, Canada, and Brazil, among others, have since recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the interim head of state. Guaidó indicated that opposition leadership is in contact with military officials to discuss forcing Maduro out, although he has declined to provide additional details.
Individuals in Venezuela are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all public demonstrations due to the risk of violence and arrest, refrain from discussing political topics in public, and adhere to all instructions issued by their home governments.
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