USA revokes Venezuela visas, rejects dialogue with Maduro

10 February, 2019, 00:21 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • A woman takes part in a rally in support of the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas Venezuela

Opposition Leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president, has warned many Venezuelans are in danger of dying without global aid.

Romania's president has officially recognized Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president nearly a week after other European Union countries recognized him.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country's rightful interim ruler, speaks during a meeting with students in Caracas, Venezuela February 8, 2019.

Under Maduro's stewardship, Venezuela's economy has collapsed leaving the country wracked by hyperinflation, recession and shortages of basic necessities such as food and medicine.

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

In the Colombian border town of Cucuta, where the first USA aid arrived Thursday, the American ambassador called on the Venezuelan security forces to allow the aid in.

"The package is very nice on the outside: humanitarian aid".

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

"While I cannot name names because visa information is protected, I can state that we will continue to take action against those destroying Venezuela's democratic institutions", he said. Mendoza reiterated that Maduro had been re-elected by a popular vote of 67.8 percent in last year's election, which the opposition coalition voluntarily boycotted, taking to the streets instead.

Estimates of how many Venezuelans have left their home country during the tenures of former President Hugo Chavez and current leader Maduro vary widely, with some opponents and academics putting the figure at 4 million.

Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey stood up for Maduro's support.


Several other countries - including Russian Federation and Turkey - are backing Maduro as the legitimately elected president, and have denounced Washington's actions as attempts to foment a coup.

"This is a macabre game: we squeeze them by the neck and make them ask for crumbs". But it is not clear when or whether the aid will reach people inside the country.

Maduro has refused the aid, disavowing any humanitarian crisis and saying Venezuela is not a country of beggars.

"We're going to open a humanitarian corridor and the doors to freedom", he told journalists.

Right before Maduro's inauguration on January 10, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on seven Venezuelan individuals and 23 entities, accusing them of involvement in a corruption scheme.

He claims his legitimacy from the constitution, but Maduro - labeled a dictator by the West and his Latin American neighbors - insists his re-election previous year was constitutional.

Lester Toledo, who is representing opposition leader Juan Guaido in the aid mission, issued a message to troops, telling them the aid contains food and medicine their own families need.

"We believe these to be those first couple pebbles before we start really seeing bigger rocks rolling down the hill", the official said this week, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Maduro rejected, however, the EU-backed contact groups as biased, stating that the bloc is "deaf", as it would not listen to Venezuela.

At the same time, the Trump administration is readying further possible sanctions on Venezuela, the official said.

Earlier, Maduro vowed not to let in "fake humanitarian aid" and claimed Venezuela's crisis has been "fabricated by Washington" to justify intervention. "This body has usurped numerous constitutional powers of the legitimate National Assembly, and embodies [Venezuelan President Nicolas] Maduro's destruction of democratic institutions".

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