Venezuela latest: Will Maduro face an uprising from the people?

Venezuela opposition slams raid of NGO that supports humanitarian aid
US military planes carrying aid arrive near Venezuelan border
Author

18 February, 2019

A USA defense official said Friday that the United States military will transport some 200 tons of humanitarian aid for Venezuela to Colombia in the coming days.

Two of three scheduled Air Force C-17 cargo planes that took off from Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida had landed in Cucuta.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro, who said he rejects the aid, has not acknowledged there's a humanitarian crisis in the country and believes the aid is an attempt to fan instability.

Maduro has been using the military, which remains loyal, to help him block aid from entering Venezuela, describing it as "crumbs" from a United States government whose restrictions have stripped his administration of control over many of its most valuable assets.

But it remains unclear whether the aid will be allowed to enter Venezuela, because President Maduro has called the operation a US -orchestrated show.

Guaido and Maduro have been locked in a battle over allowing aid into the country, and the military reinforced a blockade on Thursday at the border with Colombia, where the opposition leader has vowed to bring in desperately-needed goods. "We are saving lives with these airplanes", Toledo said.

The announcement came as tons of USA food aid was piling up along the border.

His vice president has alleged, without evidence, that the aid packages are contaminated.

Later Friday, Maduro asked the military to prepare for a "special deployment" to reinforce the border with Colombia - and make it "impregnable".

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Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has been recognized by countries including Canada and the U.S.as the country's rightful interim ruler, speaks Saturday during a meeting with volunteers to co-ordinate humanitarian aid in Caracas.

"We have to do something to save so many people who are suffering and dying for lack of medicine", she said.

About 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2015 as the crisis intensified, according to the United Nations.

He said six million families had benefited from subsidised food boxes and he claimed to have bought 933 tonnes of medicines and medical supplies from China, Cuba and Russian Federation, his main global allies.

"We paid for it with our own money because we're beggars to no one", Maduro said.

Critics of Maduro say his re-election a year ago was fraudulent, making the president's second term illegitimate.

"But it's time for the rest of the world to step forward", he said.

President Donald Trump this week repeated his warning to Maduro that "all options" are on the table, including military.

Some 30 European countries have already recognised the former engineer as Venezuela's leader, but holdouts include Italy and Greece.


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