Richard Branson and Nicolas Maduro to stage rival border concerts amid Venezuela crisis

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Venezuela’s government will stage two concerts on the Colombian border this weekend to compete with a “Live Aid”-style show announced by British billionaire Richard Branson to raise funds for food and medicine for the South American country.

Increasingly internationally isolated President Nicolas Maduro, who denies there is a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, says Western relief efforts coordinated by the opposition are part of a US-orchestrated coup to overthrow him.

Branson said last week he was organising a concert on February 22 to raise funds for aid for Venezuela in the Colombian border city of Cucuta, where donations provided by the United States and others are already being stockpiled.

The move has evoked comparisons to Irish rock star Bob Geldof’s global Live Aid concert to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. Branson has said he wants to raise $100 million in 60 days.

Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said on Monday that the government was also planning concerts on February 22 and 23, on the Simon Bolivar bridge connecting the country with Cucuta, with the slogan “nothing for war, hands off Venezuela”.



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