Venezuela's controversial President Nicolas Maduro announced on Thursday that he plans to close the country's border with Brazil "totally and completely" until further notice.
The shocking announcement comes days before shipments of foreign humanitarian aid are set to be delivered to Venezuela, where the situation grows more dire by the day. Maduro maintained at a meeting in Caracas that aid from foreign countries is unnecessary, and an attempt by the United States to undermine his government's power.
"We're not beggars," he said. "What the U.S. empire is doing with its puppets is an internal provocation. They wanted to generate a great national commotion, but they didn't achieve it."
Maduro added that he also is contemplating shutting the country's border with Colombia to ensure that no foreign aid enters Venezuela. At his request, air and sea travel between Venezuela and the nearby Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao was halted, as aid was being collected there.
Venezuela has descended into chaos in recent months, as Maduro faces opposition from opposition leader Juan Guaidó who has declared himself president of the country and argued that Maduro's re-election in May 2018 was invalid and marred by vote-rigging. Three months after Maduro's election, the United Nations announced that more than three million migrants and refugees left Venezuela because of its deficits of food and medications.
Guaido is recognized as the country's leader by the United States and other countries, while Maduro is being supported by Russia, China, Cuba, Turkey and more. Guaidó is currently leading a caravan from Caracas to Cucuta with thousands of volunteers to help obtain emergency supplies of food and medicine being stored at the city bordering Colombia.
On Tuesday, Brazilian presidential spokesman Otávio Régo Barros said that the country was organizing aid for Guaidó's government at the border city of Pacaraima.
"Brazil is taking part in this important international initiative to support the Guaidó government and the Venezuelan people," Barros said.
The Associated Press contributed to the reporting of this story.