Oil workers flee Venezuela's crisis for a better life

Evarado Alatorre
Febrero 9, 2019

The Venezuelan military directed by socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro has blocked a border bridge linked with Colombia in an effort to prevent the delivery of aid to the country's starving citizens.

In a press conference with national and global media, the president urged the European authorities not to impose a single thought of interference as the USA head of state, Donald Trump, tries to do under his premise of seizing world wealth.

"Venezuela will not allow the show of... humanitarian aid because we do not beg from anyone", he told reporters.

Over the last two weeks, the United States administration has made it clear that the military option is not off the table if Maduro refuses to voluntarily surrender his power and launch a "democratic" political transition in Venezuela.

Early Wednesday, a Venezuelan military boat carrying 100 tons (tonnes) of aid landed in Havana to help Cubans recovering from the wrath of a tornado.

Consultants Eurasia Group said Thursday that time was running out for Maduro as his traditional allies Russian Federation and China are "unlikely to lend (him) meaningful support", reinforcing its view that the socialist leader "will be unable to sustain his regime".

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

Previous rounds have targeted dozens of Venezuelan military and government officials, including Maduro himself, and last month finally hit the OPEC member's vital oil sector. But Maduro has refused calls for him to step down, insisting Washington is orchestrating a coup against his government.

Venezuela is in the midst of an economic and political crisis as Maduro, who was reelected to a second in May 2018, attempts to maintain power.

Guaido has accused Maduro's troops of being complicit in a crime against humanity by blocking food and medical care.

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More than forty nations including the United States, major European powers and most Latin American countries have recognized Guaido as the country's rightful head of state.

The aid squabble is now the latest front in the battle between Guaido and President Nicolas Maduro, who is vowing not to let the supplies enter the country.

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.

"European countries and the German government are squarely behind Mr. Guaido", Niels Annen, a German deputy foreign minister, told DW.

Venezuela's Constituent Assembly was established by Maduro in 2017 to replace the country's opposition-controlled National Assembly. Maduro has consistently denied that a humanitarian crisis is happening in the country, blaming food and medicine shortages on the U.S. sanctions, which have mostly targeted individuals and the state-owned oil company.

Present at the meeting were representatives from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Britain, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico and Uruguay, as well as the EU.

"They are trying to destroy the independence and sovereignty of the country under the pretext of delivering humanitarian aid".

The US, EU and many Latin American countries branded it a fraud as prominent opposition leaders were unable to stand after being exiled, jailed or barred.

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

Huizenga said Friday that the committee has asked to send a mission to Venezuela, and has seen informal signs that this might be agreed.

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