Venezuela Aid Fire Was Probably Caused by Protester, Times Says

(Bloomberg) -- A blaze that destroyed a truck with humanitarian aid attempting to enter Venezuela, which prompted the U.S. and the opposition to criticize President Nicolas Maduro, probably was caused by an anti-government protester, The New York Times reported.

The newspaper cited footage obtained from sources including the Colombian government, which it said showed an activist on Feb. 23 throwing a homemade bomb, or Molotov cocktail, toward Venezuelan police who were blocking a bridge. The video suggests that the rag used to light the bomb set the aid truck ablaze, the Times said.

Venezuela Aid Fire Was Probably Caused by Protester, Times Says

The fire and destruction were cited by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in criticism of Maduro, and by opponents who say National Assembly leader Juan Guaido is Venezuela’s rightful president as evidence of Maduro’s tyranny.

Hyperinflation, illness and hunger are leading thousands of people to flee Venezuela every day, with 3 million already living abroad. Maduro’s forces last month blocked the trucks with aid, which he called an excuse for intervention, from entering the country. The opposition says that it was simply trying to relieve a malnourished and suffering population. No significant quantity of aid got through.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.