Maduro says he will not allow U.S. humanitarian aid in Venezuela

Charlene Craig
February 13, 2019

Thousands cheer as Venezuela's self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido speaks during a demonstration against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Envoys for Venezuela's self-declared caretaker leader Juan Guaido met Vatican officials and lobbied the Italian government for support on Monday in their quest to keep worldwide pressure on socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

He also announced a second collection point for the aid across the border in Brazil.

The aid to be sent to the Brazilian state of Roraima bordering Venezuela would not only come from the United States, but from Brazil's government, private companies and other nations, she said.

An aid convoy supplied by the United States and Colombia arrived in the Colombian border town of Cucuta last week, where it is being held in warehouses.

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Venezuela is in the midst of a disastrous economic crisis marked by hyperinflation, recession and dire shortages of food and medicines.

He urged his fellow soldiers to help allow humanitarian aid into Venezuela.

"We are a pacifist people as long as no one messes with us, that Donald Trump does not threaten us", Maduro said. Maduro remains firmly in power and has the backing of the military, which has been blocking the aid he snubs as part of an effort to topple him.

Meanwhile, Lester Toledo, coordinator of global humanitarian aid for the opposition, told Reuters on Monday he received approval from the Netherlands to speak with the local governments of Aruba and Curacao about setting up an aid centre there.

Venezuela has been rocked by protests since January 10 when President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition. The opposition says the US -backed aid including food and medicine is needed due to Maduro's mishandling of the once-buoyant OPEC nation's economy, and they are working to get it delivered.

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"We want a prosperous Venezuela, as it was before", said Mery Marin, a 25-year-old electrician. To do so, he needs the support of the armed forces.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was visiting Colombia, said in the city of Cartagena that Venezuela was on the verge of bankruptcy and that the supply situation of the population was "dramatically bad".

Venezuela's financial accountability authority announced a probe into Guaido's income, saying he had "allegedly. received money from global and national bodies without any justification". "Precisely so that they do not use the resources of Venezuela in continuing to arm the population", he added.

"There are many Venezuelans in Israel and many Jews in Venezuela", Guaido said.

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

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But Guaido on Sunday reiterated that he would not negotiate with Maduro - as he believes Maduro would use such talks to buy himself time.

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