Caracas: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced that he is breaking off all political and diplomatic ties with the Colombian government.
"My patience is exhausted, I can no longer bear it that the territory of Colombia lends itself to aggression against Venezuela, so I have decided to break off all political and diplomatic relations with the fascist government of Colombia," Efe news quoted Maduro as telling his supporters on Saturday.
He cried out that Colombian "ambassadors and consuls must leave Venezuela within 24 hours," and added, "oligarchy, get out...out of here, oligarchy, enough is enough."
Maduro said it has become obvious "how Colombian territory is being used by the government of Mr (Ivan) Duque" to attack him, a reference to the help the neighbouring country has provided so that the humanitarian aid stored there can be transported into Venezuela.
"Never before has a Colombian President fallen so low or has worked against Venezuela the way Mr. Ivan Duque has done, never before, never - it's like he's throwing stones," Maduro said. "He has the face of a little angel but I'd like to grab his cheeks and say...you're the devil, Ivan Duque."
For several months humanitarian aid has been stored at the Colombian border city of Cucuta to meet the needs of Venezuela, a country that for some five years has suffered severe shortages of food and medicines.
On Friday, the "Venezuela Aid Live" concert was held in Cucuta with the participation of 30 local and international artists to hail the arrival of humanitarian aid. Opposition leader Juan Guaido made an appearance at the event, a month after proclaiming himself the interim President of Venezuela.
Guaido is staying in Cucuta and has been received and accompanied not only by Duque, but also by the Presidents of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, and of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benitez, as well as by Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS).
The Venezuelan President also said this Saturday that under no circumstances will he ever "bow down" to those people and asked the military, the militia and his supporters to defend him if ever he is ousted.
"My life is dedicated solely to the defence of the homeland, and under no circumstances will I ever bow down. I will never surrender, I will always defend our homeland with my own life if it is necessary to defend it," the president told the thousands of supporters who poured into the streets of Caracas "to defend the revolution."
In his statement he asked the military, militia and supporters to come out in a "civil-military union...if something happens to me someday."