Venezuela's Guaido challenging Maduro through humanitarian aid

Oscar PerryFeb 07, 2019

Two tractor trailers remained on the Venezuelan side of the Puente Tienditas border crossing bridge with Colombia in what appears to be an effort to block humanitarian aid from entering the country, according to local reports.

(EPA/AAP) Venezuela's National Bolivarian Guard prevented the entrance of humanitarian aid announced by self-appointed interim president Juan Guaido (EPA/AAP) This image taken from video, shows a fuel tanker, cargo trailers and makeshift fencing, blocking the bridge.

Roughly 40 countries around the world have backed Guaido, who swore himself in as president in late January contending that as head of the opposition-led National Assembly he is Venezuela's rightful leader because Maduro's re-election previous year was a sham.

Venezuela has been rocked by protests since January 10, when Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.

Shipments were also coming from Venezuelan companies overseas, Colombia, Canada and Germany.

At the Group's meeting Monday in Ottawa, Canada, which is a member, pledged $53 million in humanitarian aid to Venezuela.

"We are preparing to fly in as soon as we get the green light", he said.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and his wife Cilia Flores wave while they walk next to soldiers during a ceremony to commemorate the 27th anniversary of late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez coup attempt in Maracay, Venezuela, February 4, 2019.

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"This is a pivotal moment for the people of Venezuela - we are observing a widespread rejection of the Maduro regime's illegitimate claim to power following fraudulent elections last May", Trudeau said in his opening remarks before the meeting.

Speaking to farmers, Guaido said the transitional government he's mounting to replace Maduro is taking steps to make Venezuela self-reliant.

He thanked each European Union country in turn on Twitter "for supporting all Venezuelans in this struggle we undertake to rescue our nation's democracy, freedom and justice".

The Europeans gave Mr Maduro (56) an eight-day deadline to call fresh elections, or else have his authority removed.

The US could attempt to seek the approval of the United Nations Security Council to deliver aid without Mr Maduro's co-operation but Russian Federation would probably block such a move.

Canada and the Lima Group of more than a dozen North and South American countries have backed Guaido as the legitimate replacement for Maduro, who followed left-wing populist Hugo Chavez into Venezuela's presidency after Chavez's death in 2013.

Maduro blames Washington and other Western nations for sabotaging Venezuela's economy, including through sanctions.

Meanwhile, Spain, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands said that they would recognize Guaido as Venezuela's interim president unless Maduro called elections by February 3.

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