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Venezuelans not ‘beggars,’ give humanitarian aid to Colombians — Maduro

09 February 2019

The emergency supplies have become the focus of Venezuela's political struggle between President Nicolas Maduro and Guaido, who declared interim presidential powers in late January, accusing Maduro of being illegitimate following an election past year widely viewed as a sham.

The United States is engaged in direct contacts with members of Venezuela's military encouraging them to pledge allegiance to opposition leader Juan Guaido and is working on new sanctions to ramp up pressure on the country's incumbent President Nicolas Maduro, Reuters reported, citing a senior White House official.

Venezuelan volunteers, Colombian firefighters and rescue workers prepare USAID humanitarian aid for storage at a warehouse next to the Tienditas International Bridge, near Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.

Scores of European Union nations this week followed the United States and other Western countries in recognising opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate "interim" leader, further jeopardising Mr Maduro's shaky hold on power.

"We reject the partisan and ideological nature of the document", Maduro said today, adding that he would always welcome dialogue with anyone.

Besides the intoduction of sweeping oil sanctions and financial restrictions on the Maduro government and state-run oil and gas company PDVSA, Trump stated that a military intervention in Venezuela was "an option".

A majority of 14 countries in the "International Contact Group" urged Venezuela to return to the rule of law and respect its constitutional institutions - starting with the democratically elected National Assembly.

Critics accuse Maduro, Chavez's hand-picked successor, of unfairly winning an election last year for a second six-year term by banning his popular rivals from running. The Venezuelan military has barricaded a bridge connecting the two nations with a tanker and two cargo trailers in an apparent attempt to block the aid.

"I think it is better for the transition to democracy in Venezuela that he be outside the country", Abrams said.

Venezuelan Luis Escobar said his wife had advanced breast cancer and urged Maduro to accept the aid.

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.

Maduro has criticized Trump for threatening the use of military force in his country and said Venezuelans would resist US aggression.

Maduro's government has accused Guaido, who has galvanized Venezuela's opposition, of attempting to stage a USA -directed coup.

Also Thursday, a coalition of European and Latin American nations called on Venezuela to hold free and transparent elections to peacefully resolve its crisis.

It's unclear what will break the standoff playing out at the Venezuela-Colombia border.

On Monday, Canada hosted a meeting of the Lima Group regional bloc to discuss how the global community can further help the people of Venezuela, including through immediate humanitarian assistance.

The aid seems unlikely to move into Venezuela.

USAID has begun packaging pallets of foodstuffs after Bolton's announcement last week that it would send humanitarian aid.

Dozens of volunteers prepared sacks of rice, canned tuna and protein-rich biscuits for malnourished children at a warehouse on the Colombian border on Friday as Venezuela's opposition vowed to deliver the USA humanitarian aid to their troubled nation, even if it means mounting a mass mobilization of their countrymen to carry it in.

Venezuelans not ‘beggars,’ give humanitarian aid to Colombians — Maduro