Caracas, Feb 7 (IANS) The self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, on Wednesday ordered the country’s armed forces to allow the entry of international humanitarian aid, which is beginning to be collected at storage centers.
“Once again, a direct order to the armed forces at this time: Allow the necessary humanitarian aid to enter to take care of your families, your sister, your mother, your wife, who surely need supplies and some of whom, unfortunately, surely also have certain health conditions,” said Guaido at a meeting with agricultural producers.
Specifically, on Wednesday morning opposition lawmaker Franklyn Duarte complained that a military convoy was blocking the border crossing point at Tienditas, a modern facility linking Venezuela and Colombia and where humanitarian aid is slated to be brought in.
“What is blocking … the Tienditas bridge, where (the soldiers) are expecting the humanitarian aid to pass, is a cistern (truck), a container and today in the morning a convoy of the National Armed Forces arrived,” Duarte was quoted as saying to Efe.
Later, in remarks to reporters, Guaido said that he knew that container trucks were blocking the bridge, which he said he considered to be “an absurd reaction by a regime that is not interested in the public.”
“Despite that, we’re going to do everything possible so that this aid can come in,” said Guaido, reports Efe.
He also reiterated that “if part of the aid does not come in” in an urgent manner and is not distributed among 250,000 and 300,000 Venezuelans “they are at risk of dying,” and for this reason he emphasized that when the opposition speaks about “a life or death fight” that is meant quite “literally.”
“The regime still doesn’t know what to do. The first information we had is that they were going to steal it. The next is that they’re not letting it come in, the next is that they’re letting it enter and stealing it later on,” the interim president said.
However, he emphasized that the opposition is determined to “seek every mechanism” whereby the humanitarian emergency can be alleviated and the attitude of the Nicolas Maduro government to block the entry of the aid is “another stupid thing” that it’s doing.
The humanitarian aid for Venezuela was requested by Guaido, despite the refusal of the Maduro government to accept it, claiming that allowing it to come in could open the door to a foreign invasion of the country.
Although it’s still not clear how the aid will get into Venezuela, the opposition-controlled Parliament has already reported that collection and staging centers for the aid were set up in Cucuta, Colombia, by a group of Venezuelans on Tuesday.
According to the National Assembly, which Guaido heads, additional staging centers will be established in Brazil and on an as-yet-undetermined Caribbean island to collect and ship the aid coming from Venezuelan-capitalized firms abroad, particularly in Colombia and the US.