USA relief supplies stuck at Venezuelan border

April FrancisFeb 10, 2019

Speaking at the opening of the meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela, Federica Mogherini, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, underscored the importance of avoiding violence and armed conflicts.

On Friday morning an awning was set up on the Venezuelan side of the Simon Bolivar pedestrian bridge, the main point of entry between the two Andean countries, in aim of collecting signatures in support of Maduro to remain president of Venezuela.

Maduro earlier dismissed the USA promise to send relief aid to the crisis-hit South American country as a "political stunt" and a pretext for invasion, as Washington has refused to recognise the legitimate government of Venezuela, also imposing sanctions on Caracas. Total's Venezuela operations were previously managed from the US.

But bringing in humanitarian aid is crucial to Guaido's challenge to Maduro's authority.

The Venezuelan president demanded that the United States stop its aggression against Venezuela, including both attempts to "suffocate our economy" and "the serious and unsafe threats of military intervention".

'The revolution is more alive than ever, ' Maduro said. "This is a very anti-Western, anti-democratic, anti-American regime".

However "controversial" such a move might be, the self-proclaimed US-backed "interim" president of Venezuela has claimed he would not rule out the possibility of "authorizing" a foreign military intervention to topple Maduro.

On the other hand, Maduro said that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lied in recent statements about the presence of members of Hezbollah and in Venezuela, 'it is totally false, ' he said. A number of countries, including the United States, have accused Maduro of stealing the election.

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Lester Toledo, who represents Guaido in the aid mission in Cucuta, issued a message to Venezuelan troops, telling them the aid contains food and medicine their own families need. It arrived at the Colombian border city of Cucuta, where volunteers are bagging them in preparation for attempts to bring them across the border.

Volunteers hustled about as they filled up white sacks with the food and other items from boxes marked with the words USAID.

But Maduro is still in control of the military and is using it as leverage to maintain power.

CNN reported that Guaido "is begging the military to let the goods enter the country, but President Nicolas Maduro [is] having none of it, insisting 'we are not beggars, '" and refusing to accept the charity.

The Venezuelan president called on the opposition to stop ruining the country.

He also hit out at European and Latin American ministers who called for a new presidential ballot. Iohannis, in charge of the country's foreign policy, said Romania needed to have "quick, fundamental and firm reactions" to worldwide developments.

Britain, Germany, France and Spain and more than a dozen other European Union member states recognised Mr Guaido in a coordinated action on Monday, following the expiration of an ultimatum they gave for Mr Maduro to hold a new presidential election. After the deadline had expired, they recognized Guaido as interim president.

Guaido declared himself Venezuela's interim president January 23, maintaining that the constitution gives him that right as head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly because Maduro's re-election should be considered legitimate. He has the support of Washington and most South American nations.

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