USA emergency aid for Venezuela arrives at Colombian border

Venezuela's army blocks bridge to stop humanitarian aid getting through

Venezuela supports the dialogue process proposed by Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia and the Community of Caribbean Countries (CARICOM), Maduro said at a press conference in the Miraflores Palace in Caracas.

The United States is engaged in direct contacts with members of Venezuela's military encouraging them to pledge allegiance to opposition leader Juan Guaido and is working on new sanctions to ramp up pressure on the country's incumbent President Nicolas Maduro, Reuters reported, citing a senior White House official. He invoked a constitutional provision to declare himself president ad interim on January 23, promising to restore the "liberty and democracy" of Venezuela.

In an interview with Sputnik, Maduro, who has launched a signature-gathering campaign against U.S. interference, stressed that the main objective behind Washington's involvement in Venezuela was the fact that the country has the biggest oil reserves in the world.

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.

According to the Reuters source, the United States government believes that its transatlantic allies are likely to put more effort to stop Maduro from transferring or hiding Venezuelan government assets held outside the country.

Guaido says the constitution allows him to assume power, set up a transitional government and hold new elections - one of his key demands that has received widespread worldwide support.

"I'm sure that Moscow as much as Beijing is very aware of the situation in Venezuela, that Maduro doesn't have popular support, the he can't stabilize the economy. all the while holding the biggest oil reserves in the world". Speaking earlier to RT Spanish, Maduro called the aid a form of intervention, and said he would not accept it.

Maduro has rejected humanitarian assistance, seeing it as a precursor to a U.S. military incursion.

The two men described a plot headed by opposition figure Julio Borges, a former president of Venezuela's National Assembly living in Bogota.

The opposition leader launched a bid to oust Maduro last month, declaring himself interim president, a move recognized by the USA and around 40 other countries, including 20 from the European Union.

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 global mission. "Let's say our slogan loudly, "Loyal Always, Traitors Never" so it can be heard in Washington", he said.

Latin American and European Union states have formed a "Contact Group" on Venezuela which will meet in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo on Thursday.

Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez is leading the meeting attended by leaders of 14 countries, including Spain, Italy, Portugal and Sweden.

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

Opening a session in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a contribution of 53 million Canadian dollars ($40.4 million) in aid to Venezuela.

USAID has begun packaging pallets of foodstuffs after Bolton's announcement last week that it would send humanitarian aid.

"Venezuela won't allow the spectacle of fake humanitarian aid because we're no one's beggars", Maduro, Venezuela's acting president, said, despite evidence that many in Venezuela are going hungry due to widespread food shortages.

He outlined the move as part of a plan to push the military into cooperating with the opposition.

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