Maduro accused of risking lives by blocking aid

Roman Schwartz
February 9, 2019

But it appears President Nicolas Maduro will not let rival leader Guaido secure any semblance of a political victory, even if it's at the cost of his people.

"You could imagine a possibility that if there is a need to go into Venezuela and do humanitarian operations, or need to go into Venezuela to do other types of operations such as protecting the members of the Guaido government or members of the National Assembly at risk", said Evan Ellis, a research professor of Latin American studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College.

Venezuelan military officers blocked a bridge on the border with Colombia ahead of an anticipated humanitarian aid shipment, as opposition leader Juan Guaido stepped up his challenge to President Nicolas Maduro's authority.

"I'd be really disappointed if we didn't have a deal", Scott said. Right before Maduro's inauguration on January 10, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on seven Venezuelan individuals and 23 entities, accusing them of involvement in a corruption scheme.

Opposition National Assembly President Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president of Venezuela.

The talks involve European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and are spearheaded by Mexico and Uruguay, two of the only Latin American countries not to have recognized Guaido other than Maduro allies such as Cuba.

In an ironic twist, a Venezuelan navy ship laden with equipment sent by Maduro's government to help Cuba rebuild after a tornado hit Havana last month arrived in the city's port on Friday, Cuban state media reported.

Guaido has given few details of his strategy, but says the food and supplies will reach Venezuela's most vulnerable people in the next days.

Luis Escobar, a Venezuelan who now lives in Colombia after fleeing his crisis-ridden nation, said his wife has advanced breast cancer and urged Maduro to accept the aid. The Venezuelan military has blocked the bridge where the aid is stationed and Maduro is refusing to allow it in. Other nations - including Russian Federation and Turkey - have voiced support for Maduro, while China has called for peace, warning against foreign interference.

U.S. President Trump acknowledged in an interview Sunday the use of U.S. military force in Venezuela is "an option".

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Increasing temperatures can "contribute to longer fire seasons and some extreme weather events", Nasa also warned. The warmest year was 2016, followed by 2017, 2015, 2018 and 2014, according to NASA's rankings.

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Also Thursday, a coalition of European and Latin American nations called on Venezuela to hold free and transparent elections to peacefully resolve its crisis.

Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez is leading the meeting attended by leaders of 14 countries, including Spain, Italy, Portugal and Sweden.

On Monday, Canada hosted a meeting of the Lima Group regional bloc to discuss how the worldwide community can further help the people of Venezuela, including through immediate humanitarian assistance.

Guaido identified the three collection points for worldwide humanitarian aid as the Brazil-Venezuela border, an as-of-yet unidentified Caribbean island, and Cucuta.

Opening a session in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a contribution of 53 million Canadian dollars ($40.4 million) in aid to Venezuela.

He said: "Everyone knows that there will be no clashes between civilians in Venezuela".

Dozens of volunteers prepared sacks of rice, canned tuna and protein-rich biscuits for malnourished children at a warehouse on the Colombian border on Friday as Venezuela's opposition vowed to deliver the US humanitarian aid to their troubled nation, even if it means mounting a mass mobilization of their countrymen to carry it in.

He outlined the move as part of a plan to push the military into cooperating with the opposition.

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