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Venezuelans not 'beggars,' give humanitarian aid to Colombians — Maduro
10 February 2019, 12:26 | Tara Lloyd
Venezuelan military blocks bridge to keep humanitarian aid out
Elliott Abrams, U.S. special envoy for Venezuela, said at a press briefing of the State Department that Washington has revoked visas for an unspecified number of Venezuelan officials as the U.S.is seeking to press the country's president, Nicolas Maduro, to cede powers and leave the nation.
US humanitarian aid destined for Venezuela is now sitting in a warehouse on the Colombian border.
Volunteers hustled about as they filled up white sacks with the food and other items from boxes marked with the words USAID.
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CARACAS, Feb 8 - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Friday the USA -backed humanitarian aid being stockpiled in the Colombian border city of Cucuta for his country should be distributed to poor Colombians as Venezuelans are not "beggars".
Venezuela's Foreign Ministry has denounced any global support for Guaido, suggesting that European governments were acting as part of a US-led effort to topple Maduro, who has showed no signs of relinquishing power.
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"Well he's got friends in places like Cuba and Russian Federation, and there are some other countries actually that have come to us privately and said they'd be willing to take members of the current illegitimate regime if it would help the transition", explained the USA special envoy.
It was not immediately clear how the humanitarian aid would be delivered across the border.
The US military is prepared to "protect" US personnel and diplomatic facilities in Venezuela if needed, the admiral in charge of American forces in South America says.
Previous rounds have targeted dozens of Venezuelan military and government officials, including Maduro himself, and last month finally hit the OPEC member's vital oil sector. It's a message of humiliation to the people.
Abrams, a long time Republican foreign policy player who helped steer Ronald Reagan's controversial backing of anti-communist forces in Central America - said that countries should only deal with Guaido.
Under Maduro's direction, Venezuela has descended into economic chaos marked by hyperinflation, recession and shortages of basic necessities, including food and medicine. Venezuela has gone from being one of the richest countries in the region, to the poorest.
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Even though Maduro is unlikely to ever wave the USA aid through, the U.S.is continuing to stockpile food and medicine at Venezuela's border with Colombia.
"They offer us toilet paper, like (U.S. President) Donald Trump threw at the people of Puerto Rico", he said at the conference, which experienced technical difficulties including a blackout and a microphone failure. "Venezuela is not suffering the humanitarian crisis made up by Washington over the last four years to justify intervening in our country".
The two men described a plot headed by opposition figure Julio Borges, a former president of Venezuela's National Assembly living in Bogota.
Humanitarian organizations have warned that attempting to force the aid into the country would be risky, and a top US official on Thursday said Washington did not plan to do so.
Maduro said blocking the OPEC nation's oil shipments would be economically and socially "catastrophic" for the country, adding that anyone who accepted a nomination from Guaido to posts at PDVSA or Citgo would "face justice".
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