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Dublin: 7°C Monday 1 March 2021

Richard Branson concert to be held on Venezuelan border with Colombia as standoff over aid intensifies

The concert, dubbed Venezuela Live Aid, aims to raise $100 million.

Workers build the stage for the upcoming “Venezuela Aid Live” concert at the Tienditas International Bridge
Workers build the stage for the upcoming “Venezuela Aid Live” concert at the Tienditas International Bridge
Image: Fernando Vergara/PA Images

BRITISH BILLIONAIRE RICHARD Branson will host a charity concert near the Venezuelan border tonight as a standoff over allowing aid into the country intensifies.

The concert, which is being dubbed Venezuela Live Aid, will be held in the Colombian border town of Cucuta, and comes as Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido aims to bring assistance into the economically crippled country.

It aims to raise $100 million (€88 million) in donations, and will play out on opposite ends of the 300m Tienditas bridge connecting Venezuela and Colombia.

The bridge was built in 2016, but never actually opened to traffic as Colombian and Venezualan authorities could not reach an agreement on it. 

The Venezuelan president has argued that letting aid into the country would be the first step towards an invasion by foreign powers.

Stars from the Spanish-speaking world are scheduled to perform, and the presidents of Colombia, Chile and Paraguay have said they will attend.

It follows an announcement by Maduro on Thursday that Venezuela’s border with Brazil has been closed “until further notice” over the standoff with Guaido over aid.

Maduro said the land border with Brazil would be “completely and absolutely” closed from midnight, following a meeting with Venezuela’s military.

The embattled leader also said he was considering “a total closure of the border with Colombia”, following provocations from Colombian President Ivan Duque and US President Donald Trump.

“I hold Mr Ivan Duque personally responsible for any violence on the border,” said Maduro after meeting his generals at their Fort Tiuna military headquarters in Caracas.

A plane carrying food and medical aid from the US also landed on the Caribbean island of Curacao last night, with the Venezuelan government vowing to block its entry.

With reporting from AFP.

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