Venezuela is in the grip of a protracted economic, political and humanitarian crisis. Since a power struggle erupted between the country’s incumbent leader, Nicolás Maduro, and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó, the turmoil has deepened.
Venezuela’s border with Colombia has become a flashpoint between the two sides amid a row over shipments of humanitarian aid. February 23, 2019 was expected to bring a turnaround in the standoff. That was the day Guaidó called on his supporters to mobilize in their thousands at the Colombian border, and help carry the aid into the country — food and medication to ease the hunger and suffering of the Venezuelan people. Everything hinged on one question: Would the military, which had so far stood fast behind President Nicolás Maduro, switch sides and let the aid in?
In his documentary, filmmaker Tuki Jencquel follows Venezuelan investigative journalist César Batiz, who accompanied a convoy given a personal send off by Guaidó from the Colombian border city of Cúcuta. For years, César Batiz has been uncovering corruption in the oil and electricity sectors, implicating not only Venezuelan government officials, but also members of the military. Analysts say corruption is largely to blame for Venezuela’s growing crisis over the last four years. Hyperinflation, shortages of food and medicine, and frequent power outages have fuelled an exodus of more than three million people from Venezuela – a once-wealthy country that holds the world’s largest proven oil reserves. Long simmering tensions finally erupted on February 23, 2019 in a showdown between government forces and the opposition at a border bridge between Colombia and Venezuela.
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