Venezuela opposition rallies to tell Maduro - Let aid in

13 February, 2019, 03:03 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Juan Guaido who has appointed himself interim president speaks to supporters in the Venezuelan capital Caracas.                     Image DPA  PA Images

The dramatic rise in inflation was driven by the strengthening of the U.S. economic sanctions on the country last month, as well as the refusal by President Nicolas Maduro's administration to accept humanitarian aid from Western nations.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro has called on Britain to return "more than 80 tons of gold" reserves deposited in London instead of sending humanitarian aid, in an interview with the BBC.

Guaido, who proclaimed himself Venezuela's interim president last month, is in a test of wills with the Venezuelan military and government of President Nicolas Maduro, which has blocked the aid from entering the country.

National Assembly president Guaido's envoys met with Brazilian officials in Brasilia and announced plans to establish a second aid storage center in the state of Roraima, on Venezuela's southeastern border.

Maduro has rejected humanitarian aid as a USA ploy to intervene in Venezuela, calling the deployment of aid a "political show" and blaming U.S. sanctions for the country's widespread shortages of food and medicine.

The struggle now centers on emergency food and medicine from the United States warehoused on the Colombian border town of Cucuta.

Venezuela faces an economic crisis, including in the form of shortages of foodstuff and medicine.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: "I am deeply disturbed by the bad scenes of suffering in Venezuela as a result of the Maduro regime's reckless mismanagement, with families resorting to eating rotting food to try to survive".

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Shortly afterward, the state's two USA senators and seven Democratic congressmen took a similar approach. If all three step aside, the next in line to be governor is the Republican House speaker.

The power dispute in Venezuela has been fueled by US President Donald Trump, who has threatened Maduro with serious consequences if he does not surrender power peacefully.

Washington has said it will turn over control of those resources to Guaido once Maduro has been removed from power. Guaido did not specify from where aid would enter, but said the opposition would go in a convoy to safeguard the supplies.

Before the beginning of the exercises, the president arrived in the northern state of Miranda to take a look at the military equipment, including Russian-built rocket launchers that are used by the Venezuelan Armed Forces. "Who are we? Venezuelan doctors!"

"We want a prosperous Venezuela, as it was before", said Mery Marin, a 25-year-old electrician.

Guaido asked supporters to participate in a mass mobilization, saying it may be up to the people to bring the aid into the country. "We are motivated by work, production, and growth of our economy. I assume they are happy we are renewing ties with Israel".

Guaido, who galvanized the opposition after several years of in-fighting, has vowed it will keep protesting to pressure Maduro to step down so new presidential elections can be held.

He also rejected a call by European Union countries to hold elections, prompting them to recognize Guaido.

Meanwhile, Guaido said he is focused on getting humanitarian aid to the country, and that he has already procured 1,700,000 food rations for children in a state of malnutrition.

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