'Humanitarian Avalanche': Guaido Announces Venezuela Aid Hub Creation in Miami
12:39, Feb 18, 2019
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It has been denounced by President Nicolas Maduro, who has asked the military to reinforce the frontier, denouncing the food as a "booby trap" and a cover, he said, for a planned USA military invasion.
His vice-president has alleged, without evidence, that the aid packages are contaminated.
Six hundred thousand people have registered to help bring aid in through border points, Guaido told the Caracas rally, asking the volunteers to meet in town councils on Sunday to get instructions about the process.
The socialist leader insists the aid is just a cover for a planned U.S. military invasion, while Guaido says 300,000 people could die without the desperately-needed aid. He said he would examine "what new forces" might be needed to keep the frontier "inviolable". "In the White House, Donald Trump and Ivan Duque announced plans for war against Venezuela", he said, referring to a meeting on Wednesday in which President Donald Trump reiterated that "all options" were on the table with regard to Venezuela.
Duque on Friday told Guaido he would help ensure that humanitarian aid reaches Venezuela.
The once wealthy country is also suffering from a grave economic crisis that has left millions in poverty and facing shortages of basic necessities such as food and medicine.
Maduro, the hand-picked successor to socialist firebrand Hugo Chavez, meanwhile blames Venezuela's woes on USA sanctions.
Two of three scheduled Air Force C-17 cargo planes that took off from Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida had landed in Cucuta.
Critics of Maduro say his re-election past year was fraudulent, making the president's second term illegitimate.
He went on to say that Venezuela received 933 tons of medicines and medical supplies from Russia, China and Cuba on Thursday.
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has set a goal of enlisting a million volunteers within a week to confront a government blockade that has kept tonnes of humanitarian aid, most of it from the United States, from flowing into the country.
"We paid for it with our own money because we're beggars to no one", Mr Maduro said.
Maduro says the 35-year-old National Assembly speaker is a puppet to the United States, which is trying to secure access to Venezuela's gold and vast oil reserves - the largest in the world.
He also blamed the US for preventing political dialogue with the opposition, saying it is a mistake, and President Donald Trump made this mistake because of his advisors.
On Friday, Washington added to the political pressure on Maduro by sanctioning the head of Venezuela's oil company as well as top intelligence officials.
Some 30 European countries have already recognised the former engineer as Venezuela's leader, but holdouts include Italy and Greece.
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