U.S.-Supported Humanitarian Aid Awaits Shipment Into Venezuela; Trump Administration Urges Military To Allow Passage

Bloomberg: Vital Food and Fuel Exit Venezuela as Smuggling Worsens Crisis
“U.S. humanitarian aid sits in a warehouse in Cucuta, Colombia, just over the border from crisis-hit Venezuela. According to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, the supplies are part of a scheme cooked up in Washington to undermine his government. Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader whose claim to be interim president has been recognized by more than 30 countries, says the goods will enter Venezuela on Feb. 23. It’s unclear how, since Maduro still controls Venezuela’s military…” (Bristow/Monteleone, 2/19).

Fox News: Marco Rubio: Venezuelan soldiers would be committing ‘crime against humanity’ by blocking aid
“During a visit to the Colombian border city of Cucuta, Sen. Marco Rubio warned Venezuelan soldiers that they would commit a ‘crime against humanity’ if they blocked the entry of U.S. aid being channeled through rivals of disputed socialist President Nicolás Maduro. … Maduro has been using troops to block aid from entering, saying it’s unnecessary and part of coup to overthrow him. … During a contentious hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the U.S. special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, told members of the committee that while the Trump administration has preferred to use economic, humanitarian, and diplomatic channels to deal with the Maduro regime, the use of military force is not being ruled out…” (O’Reilly, 2/18).

NPR: Venezuela’s Collapse Puts Strain On Latin American Health Care
“The collapse of the health care system in Venezuela is having ramifications throughout Latin America. Disease outbreaks across the continent are being linked back to Venezuela…” (Beaubien, 2/18).

The Telegraph: Donald Trump threatens Venezuela’s military if aid is blocked from entering country
“President Donald Trump has warned the Venezuelan military not to block tonnes of humanitarian aid due to arrive in the country on Saturday, threatening the soldiers with grave consequences for remaining loyal to President Nicolas Maduro. … ‘You cannot hide from the choice that now confronts you. You can choose to accept President Guaido’s offer of amnesty, and live your life in peace with your country. But you must not block humanitarian aid. Or you can choose the second path; continuing to support Maduro. You will find no safe harbor, no easy exit, no way out. You will lose everything’…” (Alexander, 2/19).

Additional coverage of the crisis in Venezuela is available from Agence France-Presse, BBC (2), CNN, Deutsche Welle, Miami Herald, VOA News, and Wall Street Journal.

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