US Aid Deliveries to Venezuela Pursuing Political Goals - Foreign Minister

US Aid Deliveries to Venezuela Pursuing Political Goals - Foreign Minister

US Aid Deliveries to Venezuela Pursuing Political Goals - Foreign Minister

On Feb. 22, reports emerged that two were left dead and over a dozen people injured at the Brazilian-Venezuelan border as the military opened fire on civilians who attempted to prevent a convoy from blocking the path of aid into the country.

"Yankee go home", Maduro told a rally of red-shirted, flag-waving supporters in the capital, Caracas.

The island's government stressed that the United States forward base will play no part in any aid operations.

The aid consists of food kits "containing rice, beans, sugar, and salt to feed almost 3,500 people for 10 days and additional rice to feed an estimated 6,100 people for one month", a fact sheet from the State Department says.

The people of Venezuela have faced economic hardship and crackdowns on their freedom under Maduro, who succeeded infamous socialist dictator Hugo Chavez.

Mr Maduro also said the relief aid would not be allowed into Venezuela, adding USA "concerns" over Venezuela's humanitarian crisis had been "fabricated by Washington over the last four years to justify intervening in our country".

On Saturday, Maduro turned his ire on Colombia and said President Ivan Duque's government was allowing its territory to be used for "attacks against Venezuela".

U.S. President Donald Trump criticized Maduro and recognized Guaido in January, as did other countries, including Brazil and Canada.

"[For our] Dignity, we will fight harder than ever", Maduro said.

The clashes occurred after opposition leader Guaido, who most Western nations recognise as the country's legitimate leader, gave a personal send off to an aid caravan from the Colombian border city of Cucuta.

Clockwise from top left: A woman heads to the Venezuela Aid Live concert with her family; others arrive for the concert on the Colombian side of the Tienditas International Bridge; concert-goers queue up; one attendee shows his stripes.

Venezuela's borders are porous, however, and supporters could attempt to bring in aid outside the official entry points.

Meanwhile, across the border in Venezuela, government workers were assembling a smaller stage for Maduro's concert.

His announcement took place against a backdrop of deadly border clashes which saw two people killed in unrest near Brazil and at least 23 soldiers switch loyalties to opposition leader Juan Guaido amid an increasingly unpredictable and unruly fight for power in the oil-rich South American nation.

"This is a great accomplishment, Venezuela!"

The aid initiative is a watershed in Guaido's campaign to replace Maduro, which began last month when Guaido said the constitution made him acting president because last year's election was a fraud.

Volunteers are preparing to don white clothing Saturday morning and walk across global bridges to bring food and medicine to their compatriots. Even as several million Venezuelans flee and those who remain struggle to find basic goods like food and antibiotics, Maduro denies that a crisis exists.

The Pemon were successful at stopping the anti-riot troops in their effort to block food and supplies from entering the country through Brazil near the village of Kumarakapay, about 50 miles north of the border.

Venezuela has also closed its maritime border with three Dutch Caribbean islands - Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire - ahead of the "foreign aid" operation.

Maduro staged a rival concert a few hundred meters away on the Venezuelan side of the bridge in Tachira. "We will obviously keep a very close eye on what happens tomorrow", Dujarric said.

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