Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Venezuela’s Guaido won’t rule out United States intervention to force Maduro’s hand

Aerial view of the Tienditas Bridge in the border between Cucuta Colombia and Tachira Venezuela after Venezuelan military forces blocked it with containers The Tienditas Bridge was blocked by the Venezuelan military
Andrew Cummings | 10 February, 2019, 02:39

Washington immediately recognised Mr Guaido as the country's legitimate leader, saying it would use its "economic and diplomatic power" to restore democracy in Venezuela.

He accused the Trump administration of trying to violate national sovereignty by co-ordinating the shipment of hundreds of tonnes of medicines, medical equipment and nutritional supplements.

Guaido has said a change in government in Venezuela would favour its two main foreign creditors Russian Federation and China, and that he has sent communications to both countries, which have close relations with Maduro's government. "Venezuela is not suffering the humanitarian crisis fabricated by Washington over the last four years to justify intervening in our country".

Major European Union nations have joined the United States, Canada and a group of Latin American countries in recognising Guaido as interim ruler.

In an ironic twist, a Venezuelan navy ship laden with equipment sent by Maduro's government to help Cuba rebuild after a tornado hit Havana last month arrived in the city's port on Friday, Cuban state media reported.

In tears, he described how his wife was unable to get treatment in Venezuela and that by the time they were able to see a doctor in Colombia, her illness had significantly progressed.

"They offer us toilet paper, like (U.S. President) Donald Trump threw at the people of Puerto Rico", he said at the conference, which experienced technical difficulties including a blackout and a microphone failure. The US is also reportedly holding direct communications with members of Venezuela's military, urging them to switch their allegiance in exchange for sanctions relief, or to face even stronger penalties.

On the other hand, Maduro said that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lied in recent statements about the presence of members of Hezbollah and in Venezuela, 'it is totally false, ' he said.

He blamed shortages of food and medicine on U.S. sanctions, which mostly target regime individuals as well as state oil company PDVSA.

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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.

For the moment, Venezuela's troops haven't needed to use force to turn away USA aid, but Gunson worries the US - which hasn't ruled out the possible use of military force - is needlessly raising tensions.

Guaido, who has appealed to the military to back him, said the armed forces "have a dilemma: either they side with the people in need or with the dictatorship".

"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.

Venezuela's opposition leader and self-declared president, Juan Guaido, last week named Cucuta as one of three collection points for the delivery of global aid.

In response, Maduro announced he was severing "diplomatic and political" ties with the US, ordering all the USA diplomatic and consular personnel to leave the country in 72 hours.

"You're deaf to the reality of a revolution with 20 years of democratic patrimony; you only follow the script written by the extreme right", he said.

Leftist-led Bolivia also refused to support snap presidential elections in Venezuela.

On Friday, the Supreme Court asked the attorney general's office to investigate alleged "criminal" conduct by Guaido and the legislature over the "usurpation of functions" that correspond to Maduro.

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