Desperation at the border as Venezuelans await aid

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Gideon Long in Cúcuta, Colombia

María Eugenia Calderón steps off the Simón Bolívar bridge that separates Venezuela from Colombia and pushes through a crowd of migrants and street hawkers, clutching a plastic bag full of long, dark hair.

She heads to a group of women, lounging on chairs in the shade of squat, parched trees and sells her shorn locks for 20,000 Colombian pesos ($6.50). They will be used to make wigs and braids.

“It’s not much but it’s better than nothing,” she said, stuffing a crumpled bank note into the pocket of her jeans. “In Venezuela we need everything we can get.”

Such is the desperation of many Venezuelans as they await the arrival of humanitarian aid, promised by the US as part of its campaign to dislodge President Nicolás Maduro and replace him with opposition leader Juan Guaidó.