United States in direct contact with Venezuelan military, urging defections

United States in direct contact with Venezuelan military, urging defections

Guaido previous accused the Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro from preventing aid from entering the country.

National Assembly leader Guaido told AFP he would do "everything that is necessary.to save human lives", acknowledging that United States intervention is "a very controversial subject".

The opposition leader and self-declared Interim President Juan Guaidó has said Venezuelans will die without it. According to the New York Times, Maduro has "long relied on food handouts to keep his political base loyal during the country's long economic collapse", so shipments of aid are seen as a threat to the dictator as he struggles to fend off a coup.

Some European nations have joined Washington in recognising Guaido, although they didn't go as far as to back the sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil giant PDVSA and restrictions on financial transactions that the USA imposed.

Venezuelan volunteers, Colombian firefighters and rescue workers prepare USAID humanitarian aid for storage at a warehouse next to the Tienditas International Bridge, near Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.

Maduro has also rejected humanitarian aid being amassed by the USA, which has already been welcomed by Guaido, calling it a political "cheap show".

"Maduro has proven he will manipulate any calls for negotiations to his advantage and he has often used so-called dialogues as a way to play for time", he said.

"Dear military personnel, this aid is also for you. here comes food for your children, here comes medicine for the people who are suffering", he said.

Failing public services including water, electricity and transport are among Venezuela's worst problems, while there is also a shortage of doctors and medical supplies in hospitals.

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Guaido maintains that Maduro's second term as president is illegitimate, citing the May 2018 election that faced widespread global condemnation.

"I want to see how many military officers are willing to commit crimes against humanity by not allowing the lives of the most vulnerable to be saved, 250,000 to 300,000 are at risk of dying if they do not receive immediate attention", Guaido said during a gathering of university students.

"We'll do everything we have to in a sovereign and autonomous manner to achieve an end to the usurpation, a transitional government and free elections", he said. "It would be nearly miserable at this point of huge necessity not to accept it", he said. "Venezuela isn't going to allow a false show of humanitarian aid, because we're not beggars". U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Kevin Whitaker said the U.S. will get supplies to the border, and Guaido will take it from there.

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.

Rodriguez showed a videotape of what he said was a confession from retired national guard Col. Oswaldo Garcia Palomo as proof of the alleged plot.

The legitimately elected Maduro harshly criticised Washington for interfering in Caracas's domestic affairs and accused the United States of staging a coup d'etat, subsequently cutting diplomatic ties with DC.

"I'm not very anxious".

Toledo suggested one strategy: A mass mobilization of his countrymen reminiscent of how in 2016 a large group of Venezuelan women dressed in white and intent on crossing the closed border with Colombia made their way through a line of national guardsmen in order to buy food on the other side.

However, several countries including Italy and Greece have so far blocked an European Union bid for tougher action against Maduro's socialist regime.

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