US Military Delivers Aid to Colombia-Venezuela Border

US Military Delivers Aid to Colombia-Venezuela Border

Kerry Wise
February 18, 2019

"It is a farce that Maduro uses Hezbollah-related media to deny that the Iranian-backed terrorist movement is using Venezuela as a hub for activity across Latin America", Shimon Samuels, director for International Relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement.

His vice president has alleged, without evidence, that the aid packages are contaminated.

"Venezuela is preparing for the humanitarian avalanche", Mr Guaido told about 4,000 supporters clad in white T-shirts and green scarves who gathered on Saturday to sign up as volunteers.

"You have, in your hands, the possibility of fighting alongside the people who are suffering the same shortages you are", Guaido said in a tweet addressed to soldiers.

Many of Venezuela's neighbours and a host of western countries have recognised Guaido as the legitimate head of state, while Maduro retains the backing of Russian Federation and China and control of Venezuelan state institutions. He said he would examine "what new forces" might be needed to keep the frontier "inviolable". Last month, the same authority banned Juan Guaido from leaving the country and froze his bank accounts after the president of the opposition-dominated National Assembly declared he would assume the position of interim president of Venezuela until new, transparent elections are called.

Humanitarian aid has become a key issue in the power struggle between Maduro and Guaido.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has been recognized by countries including Canada and the U.S.as the country's rightful interim ruler, speaks Saturday during a meeting with volunteers to co-ordinate humanitarian aid in Caracas.

About 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2015 as the crisis intensified, according to the United Nations.

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Maduro meanwhile blames Venezuela's woes on USA sanctions.

Two US Air Force cargo planes landed in the Colombian city of Cucuta on Saturday.

Guaido accuses Maduro of being a "usurper" over his controversial re-election past year in polls widely branded as fraudulent.

Maduro said on Friday that six million families had benefited from subsidised food boxes and he claimed to have bought 933 tons of medicines and medical supplies from China, Cuba and Russian Federation, his main global allies.

It is paid for, he said, stressing that Venezuela is not a "beggar" and its economic conditions will improve.

"But it's time for the rest of the world to step forward", he said.

Trump this week repeated his warning to Maduro that "all options" are on the table, including military.

Some 30 European countries have already recognised the former engineer as Venezuela's leader, but holdouts include Italy and Greece.