Desperate Venezuelans sell hair on border as military blocks US aid from crossing bridge

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The Simon Bolivar International Bridge is an incredible place.

Some 30,000 people cross it every day – most are Venezuelans coming into Colombia.

Some are weighed down with heavy suitcases containing everything they own.

They’ve decided enough is enough – they might not know what lies ahead but anything is better than life in Venezuela.

Most come with empty trolleys and bags ready to stock up on the things they can’t get at home.

In the baking heat, mothers come carrying newborn babies with small children running to keep up, grown up sons and daughters push their ailing mothers and fathers in wheelchairs.

It’s the most gruelling of shopping trips for the most basic items; bread, nappies, pain relief, the odd lollipop to sweeten a tough life. They will return to Venezuela because there is nowhere else to go.

Some come to make money – selling cardboard and plastic for recycling. Some women even sell their hair – 17in (43cm) could fetch as much as $10.

People move with smiles and purpose. This is routine, it is nothing new. For Venezuelans, hardship is just a way of life.

But while no one is taking anything for granted there is a sense that things could be about to change.

International pressure is mounting on President Nicolas Maduro to allow desperately needed aid into his country.

US aid is now waiting at the Colombian border. No one knows if or when the packages of medication and food will make it into Venezuela.

Maduro has put a blockade across the Tienditas Bridge, where the Venezuelan opposition wants it to enter.

Venezuela will not go begging, he says. It is a message that could not be more at odds with the reality of life for his people.

The aid won’t get through unless Maduro’s makeshift barrier is taken away.

The chances of him ordering its removal seem slim. But there is hope that his military will turn in favour of the people and let it through.

For many that would mark the beginning of the end for Maduro.

Diana’s farm overlooks the bridge from the Colombian side. I ask her what she thinks might happen on it.

“If they don’t allow it through,” she says “the people will come and take it away – they’ll do what they need to do”.

(c) Sky News 2019: Desperate Venezuelans sell hair on border as military blocks US aid from crossing bridge

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