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Venezuela's government to stage concert to rival Richard Branson's charity one

The concert will be held on the Simon Bolivar bridge which links San Antonio, Venezuela with Cucuta, in Colombia, where aid sent by the US is being held up and stored.

Image: Ariana Cubillos/Dave Bedrosian/PA

VENZUELA’S GOVERNMENT HAS said it will stage a concert on the Colombian border the same day Richard Branson has said he will hold one just over the frontier to push for aid to be allowed in.

The show will be held 22-23 February as pressure grows on the government of President Nicolas Maduro, who is facing a strong challenge from national assembly speaker Juan Guaido, who is now recognized by more than 50 countries as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.

Culture Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the government had received requests from many Venezuelan musicians seeking to take part in “a grand gathering, a big concert for peace and life.”

He did not say who would perform. The concert will be held on the Simon Bolivar bridge which links San Antonio, Venezuela with Cucuta, in Colombia, where aid sent by the US for Venezuela is being held up and stored.

Maduro will not let aid in, saying this would be the first step toward a US invasion. Guaido is demanding he do so.

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

The minister said the pro-government concert would send a message “to denounce the brutal aggression that our people are being subjected to.” The government routinely complains of US interference.

British billionaire Branson has said he will hold a charity concert February 22 in Cucuta. Big names in Latin and other music have been promised.

- © AFP 2019.

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