Venezuela's humanitarian aid standoff

Venezuela's humanitarian aid standoff

At the request of Interim President Juan Guaidó, the United States is immediately pre-positioning emergency supplies in Colombia to provide relief to Venezuelans coping with severe food and medicine shortages.

Guaido says the May 2018 vote in which Maduro won a second term as president was a sham and on January 23 invoked a constitutional provision to declare himself president, promising free and fair elections.

Canada and the Lima Group representing most Latin American nations have also cautioned against force to resolve the stand-off in Venezuela.

Late last month, the ministry issued a statement in Hua's name saying China "opposes external intervention in Venezuela", in a rebuke to calls in the U.S. for military action to remove Maduro.

These nations have recognized Juan Guaido, the President of Venezuela's National Assembly, as the country's interim leader.

Colombian officials and a CNN photojournalist at the scene confirmed the presence of the blockade, which would effectively prevent humanitarian aid from reaching Venezuela via this route.

"Before providing aid, we require that adequate provisions be in place to ensure that those receiving USA assistance, our partners, or our staff will not be inadvertently put in harm's way", the spokesman said.

"There's an attempt to violate our national sovereignty with this "show" of a humanitarian operation by the government of Donald Trump", he said.

Offers of humanitarian assistance are coming in from around the world.

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

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High protein energy supplements were also included for young Venezuelan children suffering from malnutrition.

Additional aid is being stored in Miami and Houston and "ready to be deployed to the region immediately", the USA said in a statement.

"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. "This is a down payment".

Responding to that meeting, China's foreign ministry said in a statement late on Friday that China supported the efforts of the global community on the peaceful settlement of the Venezuela issue and hoped all parties would continue to play a constructive role.

In Caracas, President Nicolas Maduro denounced the presence of trailers of humanitarian aid brought to the Colombian border, calling them part of a plan cooked up in Washington to destabilize his government.

No Venezuelan officials or opposition leaders participated in the meeting.

A growing list of almost 50 countries has thrown their support behind Guaido.

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.

However, she added that "China supports the efforts by the worldwide community to this end and hopes that all sides will continue to play a constructive role in the peaceful resolution of the Venezuela issue".

Abrams continued to call for Maduro to hand off the reins, saying it does not matter where the Venezuelan president goes, as long as he is no longer at the helm of the South American nation. Steps the lawmaker has taken are therefore void and he is usurping presidential powers, Mendoza said.

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