Economy

Volunteers ready U.S. aid set for Venezuela as Maduro digs in

Volunteers ready U.S. aid set for Venezuela as Maduro digs in”

With worldwide pressure intensifying on President Nicolas Maduro to step aside and support growing for his opposition rival Juan Guaido, Venezuela is poised on a knife-edge, say analysts.

A few trucks of food and medicines are now blocked on the Colombian border.

The items were being packed by volunteers into individual bags for Venezuelan families. The first shipment includes food kits for 5,000 Venezuelans and high-protein nutritional supplements that can treat an estimated 6,700 young children with moderate malnutrition.

"That seems to be a growing popular opinion by many Venezuelans, they view that the only way to get that this criminal government out of power is by a coercive force", said Ana Quintana, Latin America policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation in Washington.

Guaido maintains that Maduro's second term as president is illegitimate, citing the May 2018 election that faced widespread worldwide condemnation.

The legitimately elected Maduro harshly criticised Washington for interfering in Caracas's domestic affairs and accused the U.S. of staging a coup d'etat, subsequently cutting diplomatic ties with DC.

It is still unclear how the aid will get through the Colombian-Venezuelan border.

Guaido called Wednesday on the conscience of Venezuela's military - which has so far been loyal to the government - to permit aid into the country from Colombia, which is run by a right-wing government critical of Maduro.

Venezuela's dire situation has fueled a political crisis that has peaked over the last month with Guaido invoking a constitutional provision to declare himself the legitimate, interim president.

"If not, the worldwide financial circle will be closed off completely", Bolton said on Twitter, urging the officers to "make the right choice".

"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.

Venezuela's socialist economic system has been severely hit following the collapse of world oil prices in 2014.

The Maduro government, responsible for an economic collapse that has reportedly forced some three million Venezuelans to flee the country, lashed out at the European Union nations, saying their move would damage relations with Caracas. Venezuela has gone from being one of the richest countries in the region, to the poorest.

Mr Guaido also dismissed Mr Maduro's claim that a civil war could break out if the USA intervenes militarily in Venezuela.

"Take all that humanitarian aid and give it to the people of Cucuta, where there is a lot of need", Maduro said.

However military intervention opponents point out the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela does not pose a direct security threat to the United States.

On Thursday, Venezuelan Minister of Communications Jorge Rodriguez claimed he presented "proof" of what he called a US-backed coup attempt against Maduro's government in January.

He maintained weakening Cuba's government and making sure Maduro leaves office would help both Venezuela and Cuba turn toward Democracy.

Omaria Perez, 44, was at the entrance of the Tienditas bridge early on Friday morning, writing messages on placards.

"I am here to support my country and we need this [aid] to enter", she said.

The only thing Venezuela had in abundance Friday was angry words as its main political players attacked each other in simultaneous news conferences while the nation teeters on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.



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