The Latest: US envoy Elliott Abrams is heading to Colombia
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on the political crisis in Venezuela (all times local):
A U.S. envoy is heading to Colombia as part of a mission to send food and other emergency supplies to neighboring Venezuela amid a deepening political and economic crisis there.
The State Department says Special Representative Elliott Abrams will lead a U.S. government delegation transporting humanitarian supplies from Florida to Colombia in military aircraft.
The delegation leaves Saturday from Homestead Air Reserve Base south of Miami.
The U.S. appointed Abrams as part of an effort to pressure embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to step down and turn over power to the opposition head of the National Assembly.
A Russian deputy foreign minister has met with his Venezuelan counterpart as tensions roil the South American country.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and Venezuela's Ivan Gil met Thursday in Moscow in a session that the Russian Foreign Ministry said was held in a constructive atmosphere.
"The Russian side expressed solidarity with the friendly people of Venezuela, firm support for the policy of its government aimed at preventing destabilization in the country and supported the idea of holding a national dialogue to overcome the differences in Venezuelan society," the ministry said in a statement.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro is ordering the border with Brazil closed as opposition leaders plan to bring in foreign humanitarian aid from neighboring nations.
Maduro said on state television Thursday he's also considering a closure of Venezuela's border with Colombia.
Opposition leaders say they plan to mount caravans to bring aid into Venezuela from Colombia and Brazil. Maduro says the aid meant to undermine and overthrow him and says Venezuela needs no such shipments.