CUCUTA, Colombia — Defying orders banning him from leaving the country, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido made a surprise appearance at a star-studded aid concert in neighboring Colombia, joining thousands of other Venezuelans in pressuring President Nicolas Maduro into allowing the delivery of emergency food and medicine.

On the Venezuelan side, a much smaller crowd gathered for a rival, three-day “Hands Off Venezuela” festival being organized by Maduro. Even as several million Venezuelans flee the country and those who remain struggle to find basic goods like food and antibiotics, the embattled president claims the relief effort led by Guaido is a U.S. orchestrated ploy to oust him from power.

The optimistic mood at the Live Aid-style concert opened in the Colombian border city of Cucuta couldn’t mask underlying tensions a day before Maduro’s opponents embark on a risky strategy to undermine Maduro and bring in the aid being amassed along three of Venezuela’s borders. But the crowd reacted with joy when Guaido suddenly appeared.

He was greeted with shouts of: “Juan arrived! Juan arrived!”

Hours before the concert in Cucuta began, dozens of Venezuelans hiked across the border through high bushes on an unmarked trail.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.