Sunday, 25 August, 2019

Maduro accused of risking lives by blocking aid

REUTERS  Manaure Quintero REUTERS Manaure Quintero
Patty Aguilar | 09 February, 2019, 15:27

"Instead of trying to accommodate Maduro through contact groups or dialogue, we urge countries to recognize Juan Guaido as interim president and join us in responding to his call for immediate worldwide humanitarian assistance to meet the needs of the Venezuelan people", Abrams said.

Guaido in late January declared that he had a constitutional right to assume the presidency, vowing to oust President Nicolas Maduro and restore democracy.

Guaido has actively courted members of the military with promises of amnesty and preferential legal treatment if they disavow Maduro and disobey his orders, and Washington this week raised the prospect of dropping sanctions on senior Venezuelan officers if they recognise Guaido.

These supplies include food, hygiene kits, blankets, water containers, kitchen sets, water bladders, and nutritional supplements.

"You could imagine a possibility that if there is a need to go into Venezuela and do humanitarian operations, or need to go into Venezuela to do other types of operations such as protecting the members of the Guaido government or members of the National Assembly at risk", said Evan Ellis, a research professor of Latin American studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College.

Maduro said blocking the OPEC nation's oil shipments would be economically and socially "catastrophic" for the country, adding that anyone who accepted a nomination from Guaido to posts at PDVSA or Citgo would 'face justice'. United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in NY, "humanitarian action needs to be independent of political, military or other objectives".

On 4 February, the administration of Juan Guaido, the self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela, said that they would hold an global conference in Washington on February 14 to seek emergency humanitarian assistance.

The U.S., Canada, most countries in Latin America and over 20 European nations have lent their backing to Guaido following the announcement.

Passersby shouted "Maduro out", while military officials replied "long live the revolution".

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Earlier this week, opposition leaders announced the coordinated shipments of baby formula, medical supplies, and food from the U.S., Colombia, and Venezuelans overseas.

He blamed shortages of food and medicine on U.S. sanctions, which mostly target regime individuals as well as state oil company PDVSA.

"Venezuela won't allow the spectacle of fake humanitarian aid because we're no-one's beggars", Maduro said at a press conference in Caracas. It's a message of humiliation to the people. Inflation has skyrocketed, and since 2015, more than three million Venezuelans have fled to neighbouring countries due to scarcity of food, jobs and medicine.

General Francisco Yanez of the air force's high command became the first active Venezuelan general to recognise Guaido, but he is one of about 2,000 generals.

The bridge is at the same site where officials plan to store humanitarian aid that Guaido is vowing to deliver to Venezuela.

The 56-year-old said Venezuela's humanitarian crisis has been "fabricated by Washington" to justify an "intervention" in the South American country.

Maduro also accused US President Donald Trump of orchestrating a coup.

And he said a first attempt to bring in the aid should be made next week. He was arrested last month after he entered Venezuela clandestinely from Colombia. They aim for "a peaceful solution and dialogue favorable for Venezuela". "While we work every day to reach the delivery of humanitarian aid, they insist in siphoning the medicines and food from those who urgently need it".

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