Venezuela: Maduro rejects humanitarian aid as nation starves

Marco Green
February 9, 2019

Venezuelan volunteers, Colombian firefighters and rescue workers prepare USAID humanitarian aid for storage at a warehouse next to the Tienditas International Bridge, near Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.

"Venezuela is not suffering the humanitarian crisis fabricated by Washington over the last four years to justify intervening in our country". "What is important is that humanitarian aid be depoliticized and that the needs of the people should lead in terms of when and how humanitarian aid is used".

Pressure is growing on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, but he shows no sign of giving in to calls from the global community for him to step down.

The Trump administration has relied on increasing diplomatic support for Guaido and economic sanctions that freeze Venezuela's oil revenues to force Maduro out or persuade the military leadership to remove him from power.

The official declined to provide details on the discussions or the level at which they are being held, and it was unclear whether such contacts could create cracks in the Venezuelan socialist leader's support from the military, which is pivotal to his grip on power.

Guaido has accused Maduro's troops of being complicit in a crime against humanity by blocking food and medical care.

It's unclear what will break the standoff playing out at the Venezuela-Colombia border. The first shipment includes food kits for 5,000 Venezuelans and high-protein nutritional supplements that can treat an estimated 6,700 young children with moderate malnutrition.

He said: "Military action is something that's on the table and is an option".

"When we see the present stand-off it becomes even more clear that serious political negotiations between the parties are necessary to find a solution leading to lasting peace for the people of Venezuela", Dujarric continued. "This is a down payment".

Maduro has criticized Trump for threatening the use of military force in his country and said Venezuelans would resist US aggression. The Trump administration offered Guaido's interim presidency an initial $20 million in support and Guaido says the aid will come in through neighboring Colombia, Brazil and as yet unidentified Caribbean islands.

Opposition leader Jose Manuel Olivares, who is in Cucuta helping coordinate the aid mission, said the idea floated by Toledo to use a mass mobilization of people to get the aid across the border is one of the strategies being considered.

A growing list of almost 50 countries has thrown their support behind Guaido.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and first lady Cilia Flores acknowledge supporters at the end of a rally in Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 2, 2019. Today, our only enemy is fear.' Guaido said.

The dire situation has fueled a political crisis that has peaked over the last month with opposition leader Juan Guaido invoking a constitutional provision to declare himself the legitimate president.

The pro-Maduro Supreme Court has already barred Guaido from leaving the country and frozen his bank accounts while prosecutors investigate what they call his anti-government activities.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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