Economy

Venezuela crisis: Colombia CANCELS entry passes for Maduro supporters as Venezuelans flee

Venezuela crisis: Colombia CANCELS entry passes for Maduro supporters as Venezuelans flee

Convoys of food and medicine supplied by the USA at the request of interim President Juan Guaido have been brought to the Venezuelan-Colombian border.

Maduro also repudiated a statement issued by the International Contact Group on Venezuela.

His opposition rival, Juan Guaidó, now recognised as the rightful president by the U.S. and most South American and European nations, says that up to 300,000 people are in danger of dying for want of humanitarian assistance.

Guaido, the National Assembly speaker, has so far been recognised by around 40 countries since declaring himself interim president on January 23.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro delivers a speech on the signature campaign to urge the United States' to put a halt to intervention threats against Maduro's government, at Bolivar square in Caracas, on February 7, 2019.

Despite having the world's largest oil reserves, Venezuela is in a historic crisis after 20 years of socialist rule launched by the late President Hugo Chavez. But Maduro has rejected calls for elections and retains the support of Russia, China and Turkey as well as the Venezuelan military.

But a US military intervention in Venezuela could fracture support from Latin American counties that have been critical of past USA interventions in the region and could bolster Maduro's image in Venezuela as a sympathetic and anti-imperialist leader.

Today, Romania also revealed it officially recognises opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate interim president.

The goods, including packaged corn flour, lentils and pasta, arrived Thursday in what the opposition is hoping will be the first of many shipments of humanitarian aid from countries around the world.

Record US meth haul intercepted by Australian authorities
It is the single largest seizure of methamphetamine heading Down Under and the largest domestic bust of the drug on USA soil. Two of those arrested are Americans: a 52-year-old man and a 46-year-old woman. "Australia is now being targeted", he said.

Whitaker said the USA involvement stops at the Colombian border, where the Guaido-led opposition will be charged with distributing the aid inside Venezuela, a seemingly tall task as Maduro shows no signs of conceding. The first shipment includes food kits for 5,000 Venezuelans and high-protein nutritional supplements that can treat an estimated 6,700 young children with moderate malnutrition.

He said the aid should be given to the poor in the Colombian city of Cucuta, where the supplies are being stockpiled.

The boxes of emergency aid came from the U.S. Agency for International Development, and are marked with USAID labels.

Maduro has also rejected humanitarian aid being amassed by the USA, which has already been welcomed by Guaido, calling it a political "cheap show". He's offered to try to resolve the political impasse in a dialogue with opposition leaders, which critics call a stalling tactic that has failed to lead to any changes.

We have always told the European Union and [its foreign policy chief] Federica Mogherini: You are not listening to the truth of Venezuela, you are deaf.

But Maduro is still in control of the military and is using it as leverage to maintain power. Opposition leaders said three countries in the region will become aid hubs and that some nations, like Colombia, will likely have more than one collection site.

Negotiation remains unlikely unless the army distances itself from Maduro and "puts in place another interlocutor", says Anna Ayuso, of the Center for International Affairs (CIDOB) in Barcelona.

Guadio is backed as the de facto leader by more than 40 nations, including the U.S. and major European powers, who want Maduro to step down.


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