Volunteers ready USA aid for Venezuela, Maduro vows to block it

Gladys Abbott
February 9, 2019

On Friday, worldwide charities in Colombia distanced themselves from Guaido's aid distribution, sending a letter to governments and United Nations agencies in which they expressed "concerns about the methods through which humanitarian aid is planned to be sent from Colombia to Venezuela".

Acute medical shortages are affecting the whole country, but President Nicolas Maduro won't accept aid from the United States, which has said it plans to oust him from power.

He is trying to bring in food and medicines from the U.S. but the supplies are stuck in warehouses in Colombia because the Venezuelan military has blocked their entry.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said today the USA -backed humanitarian aid being stockpiled in the Colombian border city of Cucuta for his country should be distributed to poor Colombians as Venezuelans are not "beggars".

Millions of Venezuelans have migrated, and those left behind struggle to afford scarce supplies of food and medicine.

The United States invaded Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989, two small Latin American countries, with limited military operations. Dozens of political parties that make up Venezuela's opposition have failed to mount a viable political challenge.

According to the Reuters source, the U.S. government believes that its transatlantic allies are likely to put more effort to stop Maduro from transferring or hiding Venezuelan government assets held outside the country.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and first lady Cilia Flores acknowledge supporters at the end of a rally in Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 2, 2019.

But a US military intervention in Venezuela could fracture support from Latin American counties that have been critical of past USA interventions in the region and could bolster Maduro's image in Venezuela as a sympathetic and anti-imperialist leader.

More news: Oil Workers Exodus Could Complicate Efforts To Reverse Venezuela's Collapse

Guaido has been recognised by more than 40 countries since declaring himself interim president on January 23.

Offers of humanitarian assistance are coming in from around the world.

Mr Guaido, for his part, said in an interview published on French daily Le Monde's website on Friday that he and his political allies were busy "building a veritable majority in the country".

High protein energy supplements were also included for young Venezuelan children suffering from malnutrition.

The boxes of emergency aid came from the U.S. Agency for International Development, and are marked with USAID labels.

The United States gave immediate recognition to Guaido and has not ruled out military intervention, though Washington has until now opted to squeeze the economic life out of Maduro's administration, according to analyst Luis Vicente Leon. The sanctions freeze $7 billion in USA -based assets and target $11 billion of US revenue to Venezuela's national oil company. The Venezuelan military has barricaded a bridge between the two nations with a tanker and two cargo trailers in an apparent attempt to block the aid.

A Venezuelan migrant prays in the Divina Providencia migrant shelter in Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, on February 7, 2019.

Guaido said the military has to decide whether to "take the side of the constitution" or to "continue on the side of an increasingly isolated dictator".

Guaido has actively courted members of the military with promises of amnesty and preferential legal treatment if they disavow Maduro and disobey his orders, and Washington this week raised the prospect of dropping sanctions on senior Venezuelan officers if they recognize Guaido. "Maduro hasn't had a new line of credit since 2016", said Guaido.

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