Juan Guaido calls on military to allow aid into Venezuela

Minnie Murray
February 13, 2019

On the Venezuelan side of the border, dozens of doctors protested Sunday demanding the aid be allowed in - including surgeon Jose Luis Mateus de la Riva, who accused Maduro of sinking Venezuelan medicine back to the "medieval era".

On Monday, Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said that his country has a "strengthened (military) presence" along the border with Colombia after a portion of the humanitarian aid had begun to be warehoused in Cucuta.

Guaido said he's mobilizing caravans of Venezuelans to deliver the humanitarian aid across the Colombian border on February 23, a month after he declared himself the interim president and called for Maduro to step down.

Senior US officials last week heralded their country's efforts to move aid to Venezuela's doorstep, after US supplies were among those delivered to the first collection point established, in the Colombian border town of Cucuta.

The socialist president says the humanitarian aid is part of a USA -led coup and won't let it across the border.

Venezuela is in the midst of a disastrous economic crisis marked by hyperinflation, recession and dire shortages of food and medicines. "End human rights violations, yes to humanitarian aid", and "I too am another Venezuelan fighting for a free Venezuela".

Maduro says the U.S. has frozen $10 billion in Venezuelan accounts through its sanctions.

Guaido on Monday dismissed the possibility of a civil war in Venezuela, claiming Maduro could not count on the army and "90 per cent of the people want change".

Meanwhile, Lester Toledo, coordinator of worldwide 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.

A woman shouts slogans against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro during a protest against his government in Urena, Venezuela, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019.

"We're working hard", he said in one call.

The announcement earned immediate praise from US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who hailed the Jewish state for "standing with the people of Venezuela and the forces of freedom and democracy".

The opposition leader said he was sending a "direct order" to the army to allow the aid in.

For his supporters, Guaido appeared to be something of a rockstar, as they desperately tried to take selfies and cheered emphatically every time he spoke or his name was mentioned.

"What do we lack today after 20 years of work, sacrifice, to build a majority?" "We are being used to keep them in power".

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has reiterated his offer of good offices for a serious negotiation in Venezuela that benefits the people and helps to alleviate tensions that country is facing on Tuesday.

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

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