Volunteers ready United States aid set for Venezuela as Maduro digs in

Volunteers ready United States aid set for Venezuela as Maduro digs in

The emergency supplies have become the focus of Venezuela's political struggle between President Nicolas Maduro and Guaido, who declared interim presidential powers in late January, accusing Maduro of being illegitimate following an election past year widely viewed as a sham.

Maduro argues Venezuela isn't a nation of "beggars" and has long rejected receiving humanitarian assistance, equating it to a foreign intervention. Juan Guaidó, who is recognised as president by most South American and western nations, ...

Venezuela's dire situation has fuelled a political crisis that has peaked over the last month with Guaido invoking a constitutional provision to declare himself the legitimate, interim president. Inflation has skyrocketed, and since 2015, more than three million Venezuelans have fled to neighbouring countries due to scarcity of food, jobs and medicine.

Guaido, 35, is trying to bring in food and medicines from the USA but the supplies are stuck in warehouses in Colombia because the Venezuelan military has blocked their entry.

The border bridge near where the aid is being stored has been blocked by the Venezuelan military.

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

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

Guaido, who heads the opposition-led National Assembly, declared himself Venezuela's legitimate ruler on January 23.

Also at the briefing, the State Department's deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will discuss the issue of Venezuela with European Union leaders during his upcoming trip to Europe.

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Venezuela is already experiencing mass hunger, and is likely to experience even greater difficulty importing food thanks to stepped-up USA sanctions.

Venezuela should resolve its own matters itself via peaceful talks and China supports the worldwide community's efforts in this regard, the Chinese foreign ministry said.

"This is a macabre game: we squeeze them by the neck and make them ask for crumbs". It's a message of humiliation to the people.

"We're going to open a humanitarian corridor and the doors to freedom", he told journalists.

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 world watches now whether Maduro's government will let the first shipments from United States cross its borders.

He claims his legitimacy from the constitution, but Maduro - labeled a dictator by the West and his Latin American neighbors - insists his re-election a year ago was constitutional.

Opposition leader Jose Manuel Olivares, who is in Cucuta helping co-ordinate the aid mission, said the idea floated by Toledo to use a mass mobilization of people to get the aid across the border is one of the strategies being considered.

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".

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