Published: Sat, February 09, 2019
Economy | By

Eerie photo sums up humanitarian crisis facing starving Venezuela

Eerie photo sums up humanitarian crisis facing starving Venezuela

The arrival of the aid convoy, which includes supplies provided by the USA, has increased the pressure on Maduro after Washington as well as nations from across Latin America and Europe supported opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim leader of Venezuela.

Venezuelan volunteers, Colombian firefighters and rescue workers prepare USAID humanitarian aid for storage at a warehouse next to the Tienditas International Bridge, near Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.

Opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido declared himself Venezuela's interim president last month, vowing to oust President Nicolas Maduro from power and end the once-wealthy nation's deepening political and humanitarian crisis.

Soaring hyperinflation has forced millions of Venezuelans to flee or go hungry as they struggle to find or afford basic goods and medicine. Guaido called upon the global community for humanitarian aid.

The United States invaded Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989, two small Latin American countries, with limited military operations.

Despite having the world's largest oil reserves, Venezuela is in a historic crisis after 20 years of socialist rule launched by the late President Hugo Chavez. He argues Maduro was re-elected previous year in a sham election.

But a US military intervention in Venezuela could fracture support from Latin American counties that have been critical of past USA interventions in the region and could bolster Maduro's image in Venezuela as a sympathetic and anti-imperialist leader.

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

General Francisco Yanez of the air force's high command became the first active Venezuelan general to recognize Guaido, but he is one of about 2,000 generals.

Offers of humanitarian assistance are coming in from around the world.

Guaido has said the time for dialogue has passed. The first shipment includes food kits for 5,000 Venezuelans and high-protein nutritional supplements that can treat an estimated 6,700 young children with moderate malnutrition.

'Take all that humanitarian aid and give it to the people of Cucuta, where there is a lot of need, ' Maduro said at his news conference.

The boxes of emergency aid came from the U.S. Agency for International Development, and are marked with USAID labels.

A recent handout picture released by the Venezuelan presidency showing Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (C) attending a military ceremony.

A Venezuelan migrant prays in the Divina Providencia migrant shelter in Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, on February 7, 2019.

He added that the Venezuelan military was degraded. Around 800,000 Venezuelans are said to have crossed the border and settled in Colombia.

'The revolution is more alive than ever, ' Maduro said.

Venezuela's government on Friday said the United States should distribute humanitarian aid in Colombia where it is being stockpiled, while the opposition warned that blocking much-needed food and medicine could constitute crimes against humanity.

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