Venezuela's humanitarian aid standoff

Lloyd Doyle
February 9, 2019

His move ramped up tensions with Maduro's government even as many in Venezuela remain in desperate need of food and medical supplies.

Venezuela's interim president Juan Guaido urged demonstrators to continue their fight against the socialist tyrant Nicolas Maduro in Caracas today.

Venezuela has been suffering from political and economic crisis triggered by the fall of global oil prices, with the opposition actively using the deteriorating humanitarian situation in its rhetoric.

Guaido told a packed 2,700-seat theatre at the Central University of Venezuela that Maduro's days were numbered, as he clings to power. Speaking earlier to RT Spanish, Maduro called the aid a form of intervention, and said he would not accept it.

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.

For analysts, the military holds the key to the crisis. And they worry hawks in the Trump administration may be advocating for military solutions to try to resolve complex diplomatic, economic and political problems.

Venezuela's Red Cross said it was ready to distribute aid but only once it is allowed into the country.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks at Iglesia Doral Jesus Worship Center on the political crisis in Venezuela on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in Doral, Florida.

On Thursday, representatives of the European Union and Latin American nations met in Uruguay to discuss the crisis.

"The body has usurped numerous constitutional powers of the legitimate National Assembly and embodies Maduro's destruction of democratic institutions", Abrams told reporters.

Asked what would happen if the Venezuelan military blocks the aid from going in, Whitaker said any obstacles would be dealt with as they arise and reiterated that Trump has made clear nothing is off the table - though, he added, the priority is to arrange a broad worldwide mission.

"And who do you think you are?"

It's unclear what will break the standoff playing out at the Venezuela-Colombia border.

Their organization, the International Contact Group on Venezuela, issued a statement saying they would send a technical mission to the country to help provide humanitarian aid and support new elections as soon as possible.

"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.

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.

Several experts said the catalyst could be some kind of armed action to block U.S. humanitarian aid shipments.

A day after the aid convoy arrived in the border city of Cucuta, President Nicolas Maduro ridiculed the United States for offering small amounts of assistance while maintaining sanctions that block some $10 billion of offshore assets and revenue.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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