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

09 February 2019, 09:22 | Hattie Nash

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

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

Major European countries have joined the United States in backing Guaido but they have stopped short of the sweeping oil sanctions and financial measures that Washington has imposed. Long-time allies Russian Federation and China and several other countries continue to support Maduro. He recalled how in 2016, a large group of Venezuelan women dressed in white and intent on crossing the closed border with Colombia made their way through a line of national guardsmen in order to buy food on the other side.

Maduro has called for "face to face" talks with Guaido and to that end is supporting the Contact Group meeting, starting Thursday, of European and Latin American countries in Montevideo.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido vowed to use the bridge to deliver the aid being pledged by Trump and Canada.

The 35-year-old argues Maduro was re-elected last year in a sham vote and the country must hold new presidential elections.

The socialist president "could accept negotiations in exchange for the lifting of sanctions and relaxing of worldwide pressure", according to Ernesto Pascual, political scientist at the Open University of Catalonia.

Supporters of the military option cite the Maduro government's alleged involvement in illegal drug trafficking, as well the growing flow of Venezuelan economic refugees in the region as justification.

The US, which has not ruled out a military intervention in crisis-wracked Venezuela, was the first to recognise his rival as acting president, followed by a dozen Latin American countries.

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

It is still unclear how the aid will get through the Colombian-Venezuelan border.

'We have been threatened by the USA empire, ' said Venezuela's embattled president Nicolás Maduro. An outspoken Maduro critic, Palomo has openly spoken of amassing a military force in exile to remove the Venezuelan leader from power.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who requested the global assistance, said it is necessary in a country racked by shortages of basic goods.

Colombian officials and a CNN photojournalist at the scene confirmed the presence of the blockade, which would effectively prevent humanitarian aid from reaching Venezuela via this route.

Any military intervention would require consensus, unlikely to be forthcoming, according to Pascual, given the precedents of Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The risk exists", says Leon.

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.

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"The armed forces have a huge dilemma, whether or not to accept the aid". He suggested Guaido's offer was still too vague.

A recent handout picture released by the Venezuelan presidency showing Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (C) attending a military ceremony. U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Kevin Whitaker said the U.S. will get supplies to the border, and Guaido will take it from there.

Maduro could entrench himself and close ranks "Cuban style", says Ayuso, with "very painful consequences" for a population devastated by shortages and hyperinflation.

Guaido warned military officers against blocking the arrival of aid amid spiralling disease and malnutrition brought on by a hyperinflationary collapse.

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.

Venezuela's interim president Juan Guaido urged demonstrators to continue their fight against the socialist tyrant Nicolas Maduro in Caracas today.

Ayuso believes that such a move would also open the way for even "greater repression" of the opposition and "a more harsh military government".

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