Humanitarian aid to enter Venezuela on Feb 23: Guaido

Caracas [Venezuela]: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Tuesday (local time) said that humanitarian aid would enter the country on February 23, while accusing embattled President Nicolas Maduro of blocking relief to the South American nation.

He made the comments while speaking to thousands of demonstrators agitating as part of an ongoing campaign to depose Maduro from power.

Guaido, who is recognised by the US and dozens of countries as Venezuela’s interim President, has been pressing for emergency food and medical supplies from Washington to be brought into the economically stagnant nation, Voice of America reported.

Guaido, recognized by the U.S. and some 50 other countries as the interim president of Venezuela, spoke Tuesday to thousands of supporters who demonstrated as part of an ongoing campaign to break the military’s support for Maduro and force the socialist leader from power.

A defiant Maduro, who is backed by the country’s powerful military, claimed that the opposition protests are an attempt by the US to stage a coup and overthrow him.

Earlier this month, Maduro, in a stern warning, said that US President Donald Trump risks “staining his hands with blood” if he attempted to pursue military action in the strife-torn South American country.

About 16 European Union (EU) nations recognised Guaido as the country’s interim President, in a move backed by the US, after Maduro failed to fulfil their demand to announce fresh Presidential elections by February 3.

The 16 countries are — Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

They have joined the US in pushing for a change of regime in Venezuela, which is currently seeing an acute shortage of medicines and hyperinflation despite being an oil-rich country.

Venezuela has been under political turmoil since January 10 after Maduro was sworn-in for a second six-year term as the President, prompting protests by the country’s Opposition. Subsequently, Guaido, on January 23, proclaimed himself to be the President, despite Maduro winning the presidential elections last year.

Immediately, the US was the first to recognise Guaido as the President and also promised humanitarian aid to Venezuela. Washington has repeatedly demanded that Maduro should resign from his post.

Despite repeated calls for his resignation, Maduro has refused to step down, contending that he was legally the President of Venezuela.