Friday, 19 April, 2019


Venezuela: Maduro rejects humanitarian aid as nation starves

Aerial view of trucks loaded with humanitarian aid for Venezuela driving to the Tienditas Bridge on the border between Cucuta Colombia and Tachira Venezuela where Venezuelan military officers have blocked the bridge Venezuela: Maduro rejects humanitarian aid as nation starves
Conrad Doyle | 09 February, 2019, 09:21

"I want to see how many military officers are willing to commit crimes against humanity by not allowing the lives of the most vulnerable to be saved, 250,000 to 300,000 are at risk of dying if they do not receive immediate attention", Guaido said during a gathering of university students.

A day after the USA aid convoy arrived in the border city of Cucuta, Maduro ridiculed the Americans for offering small amounts of assistance while maintaining sanctions that block some $10 billion of offshore assets and revenue.

Guadio is backed as the de facto leader by more than 40 nations, including the United States and major European powers, who want Maduro to step down.

The containers were positioned across the road ahead of an anticipated humanitarian aid shipment.

At the end of January, the Trump administration announced new sanctions against the Maduro government and his allies.

But he said "fear" was preventing more top ranking members of the armed forces from switching sides and joining air force general Francisco Yanez who last weekend disavowed Maduro.

Venezuela's Foreign Ministry has denounced any worldwide support for Guaido, suggesting that European governments were acting as part of a US-led effort to topple Maduro, who has showed no signs of relinquishing power.

"And there are some other countries actually, that have come to us privately and said they would be willing to take members of the current illegitimate regime, if it would help the transition".

The opposition leader launched a bid to oust Maduro last month, declaring himself interim president, a move recognized by the USA and around 40 other countries, including 20 from the European Union.

"There's an attempt to violate our national sovereignty with this "show" of a humanitarian operation by the government of Donald Trump", he said.

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. The pope told journalists Tuesday that this would require agreement from both the government and the opposition.

The talks involve European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and are spearheaded by Mexico and Uruguay, two of the only Latin American countries not to have recognized Guaido other than Maduro allies such as Cuba.

On Friday, global 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".

The Red Cross urged Venezuelans not to politicize the aid issue, without saying how or if the aid would arrive.

Lester Toledo, who is representing opposition leader Juan Guaido in the aid mission, issued a message to troops, telling them the aid contains food and medicine their own families need.

In Geneva, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it was doubling its resources to cope with the crisis, where food and medicine shortages have pushed 2.3 million people to flee since 2015.

More than forty nations including the United States, major European powers and most Latin American countries have recognized Guaido as the country's rightful head of state. And on Wednesday he called for the collection of 10 million signatures against what he called "Trump's interventionist action".

Maduro has refused the aid, disavowing any humanitarian crisis and saying Venezuela is not a country of beggars.

Russian Federation has slammed what it called interference in the oil-rich but now poor Latin American country, saying it was an attempt to "legitimise usurped power".

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