US humanitarian aid for Venezuela arrives in Colombia
The deliveries of humanitarian aid are believed to be instrumental in ousting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The aid — said to be “nutritional supplements” and hygiene kits — is being delivered via Boeing C-17 military cargo planes, and is estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The humanitarian aid is supposed to reach Venezuela on February 23, a date set by self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido.
Maduro, who says the US could be delivering weapons in the aid containers, has blocked roads to Cucuta and ordered armed forces to be ready to counter “conspiracies and provocations.”
The current Venezuelan president enjoys the unwavering support of the armed forces, who accept the hardship of an ongoing economic crisis alongside the citizens of the nation, New York Times notes.
US officials claim, however, that Venezuelan generals only support Maduro out of personal interests. Guaido has called on the Venezuelan Armed Forces to “take the side of constitution” Saturday, giving the military seven days to do so.
In the meantime, the US State Department is preparing to evacuate the US embassy from Caracas. The department has kept a small team in place that may have to be pulled out quickly if the security situation suddenly deteriorates, the report says.
US President Donald Trump has not excluded the possibility of a military intervention in the ongoing Venezuelan conflict — something that Juan Guaido has repeatedly condemned.
The US national security adviser, John Bolton, was recently photographed with a notepad in which he had scribbled “5,000 troops to Colombia,” according to the Times. When asked about the phrase, the White House said “all options are on the table.”
New turmoil in Venezuela erupted in late January after the head of the opposition-led Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, proclaimed himself interim president. The US and other countries have called the Maduro government “illegitimate” and backed Guaido, calling for a new vote.
In addition, Washington has imposed numerous rounds of sanctions on Caracas, seizing assets of the Latin American state. Russia, Turkey, and China, as well as several other countries, have refused to support the opposition leader, backing Maduro as the country’s legitimate president.