Published: Wed, February 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Venezuelan Doctors Flood Border Bridge Pleading for Humanitarian U.S. Aid

Venezuelan Doctors Flood Border Bridge Pleading for Humanitarian U.S. Aid

An active-duty Venezuelan army colonel who is a military doctor has dropped his allegiance to President Nicolas Maduro, backing opposition leader Juan Guaido instead.

"I hope there will be respect for worldwide law and the Central Bank of Venezuela", said Maduro, who is under huge global pressure to leave power so self-proclaimed acting president Guaido can set up a transitional government and hold new elections.

Guaido, 35, also said he was establishing a second collection point in Brazil. The U.S.is calling for elections in Venezuela and for global aid deliveries to be allowed to enter the country.

Last week, Maduro blocked a bridge leading to the Colombian border to stop shipments of food and medicine.

Venezuelans have faced shortages of basic necessities such as food and medicines as the economy went into meltdown under Maduro's leadership.

Maduro has said that Guaido is trying to set up "a puppet government" in Venezuela.

The power dispute in Venezuela has been fueled by US President Donald Trump, who has threatened Maduro with serious consequences if he does not surrender power peacefully. Sanctions created to deprive Maduro of oil revenue have left an armada of loaded oil tankers off Venezuela's coasts that have not been discharged by PDVSA's customers due to payment issues.

Lester Toledo, head of Guaido's aid distribution team, told reporters that the Roraima center would start receiving supplies next week.

In their attempts to block the entry of aid, Venezuelan soldiers positioned tankers on the Tienditas global bridge connecting Venezuela with Colombia, making it impossible for supplies to reach those within the country: Dr. Jose Luis Mateo, a member of the NGO United Doctors, told Efecto Cocuyo, a local opposition outlet, that the Maduro regime is blocking the entry of aid so they can continue to exercise control over the most vulnerable.

Maduro, who faces a challenge to his authority back home from opposition leader Juan Guaido, said the gold is "legally Venezuela's, it belongs to the Central Bank of Venezuela". "We lack the factor that ultimately sustains dictatorships, which is the Armed Forces", he added.

"We're working hard", he said in one call.

Guaido asked supporters to participate in a mass mobilization, saying it may be up to the people to bring the aid into the country.

Venezuela's self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido gives the thumb up as he gets into a vehicle after a meeting with university students at the Central University of Venezuela, in Caracas, Venezuela, February 8, 2019.

Amoroso alleged Guaido has "received money from global entities without any type of justification". "I assume they are happy we are renewing ties with Israel". "It's help for many Venezuelans like my son".

Mr Guaido called the move "almost genocidal".

Pope Francis has said he would also be prepared to mediate but Guaido has rejected negotiations with Maduro, believing he would use them to buy time.

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