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

Galtero Lara
Febrero 9, 2019

Lorries carrying United States humanitarian aid have arrived close to the Venezuelan border as a stand-off between President Maduro and the western democratic world escalates.

Two US trucks carrying food and medical supplies arrived at Venezuela's border this afternoon, according to a US official in the Colombian border town of Cucuta.

"The United States is prepositioning relief items - including food, nutritional supplements, hygiene kits and medical supplies - in Colombia so they are available to reach those most in need in Venezuela, as soon as possible", said a USA official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue.

Juan Caicedo, a spokesperson from Migration Colombia, Colombia's Ministry of Immigration and Immigration Control, said the Venezuelan military put the blockade into place Tuesday afternoon, adding that there are cameras monitoring activity on the bridge. "Humanitarian aid does not substitute for the economy of a country".

Guaido said Thursday he was confident his efforts to bring humanitarian aid into the country would work out.

The possible use of US military force to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro raises concerns about the possible costs in lives and unintended consequences that may come from committing American troops to fight and die in another foreign conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted a picture of the blocked highway bridge on Wednesday, calling for Maduro to "let the aid reach the starving people".

"There's an attempt to violate our national sovereignty with this "show" of a humanitarian operation by the government of Donald Trump", he said.

Offers of humanitarian assistance are coming in from around the world.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has dismissed the need for aid.

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High protein energy supplements were also included for young Venezuelan children suffering from malnutrition.

Additional aid is being stored in Miami and Houston and "ready to be deployed to the region immediately", the US said in a statement. "This is a down payment".

People cross the Simon Bolivar International Bridge on the border between Tachira in Venezuela and Cucuta in Colombia, on February 7, 2019.

Guaido recently downplayed the need for USA intervention in Venezuela during an interview with VOA in which he said, "We will as a sovereign Venezuelan people do what is necessary to achieve stability in our country".

"Any potential political use of humanitarian aid can generate risks, in particular for those the aid is meant to support", said the letter, signed by 15 non-governmental organizations, including Oxfam, Mercy Corps and Save the Children.

"The aid is going to be backed by popular support, by hundreds and thousands of people who need it", he said.

But Maduro maintains the support of the armed forces and important allies Russian Federation and China, which have massive investments in a country with the world's largest oil reserves. "The other practical problem we face is that, given the sanctions, we should no longer manage Venezuela from the United States ... but from Europe".

In a plea for the aid to pass through, exiled politician and Guaido's spokesperson in Colombia, Lester Toledo, sent a message to Venezuela's military. Speaking earlier to RT Spanish, Maduro called the aid a form of intervention, and said he would not accept it.

"If they dare to continue blocking the way, all these volunteers will go open a humanitarian channel", he said. Guaido maintains that Maduro's second term as president is illegitimate, citing the May 2018 election that faced widespread global condemnation. Steps the lawmaker has taken are therefore void and he is usurping presidential powers, Mendoza said.

Maduro has also rejected humanitarian aid being amassed by the USA, which has already been welcomed by Guaido, calling it a political "cheap show".

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