A high-stakes plan by the Venezuelan opposition to bring humanitarian aid into the country floundered Saturday when troops loyal to Maduro refused to let the trucks carrying food and medical supplies cross, but it did set off a wave of military defections unlike any seen yet amid the country’s mounting crisis. Over 320 mostly low-ranking soldiers fled in a span of four days, Colombian immigration officials said Tuesday.
With no relatives in Colombia, several dozen have ended up in a shelter run by a priest. The home on a street with low-hanging electrical wires is where they are nervously keeping track of relatives left behind, figuring out how to apply for asylum and deciding what should come next.
“The only way for this government to leave, unfortunately, and all of Venezuela knows it, is for there to be a direct intervention,” said Sgt. Jose Gomez, a father of two. “The only one with that power is the international community.”