Venezuela: Maduro rejects humanitarian aid as nation starves

The containers were positioned across the road ahead of an anticipated humanitarian aid shipment

"We can have different points of view and readings about the causes of the crisis", Mogherini said.

A number of countries, including the United States, have accused Maduro of stealing the election.

A Venezuelan migrant prays in the Divina Providencia migrant shelter in Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, on February 7, 2019.

On Friday, global charities in Colombia distanced themselves from Guaido's aid distribution, sending a letter to governments and United Nations agencies in which they expressed "concerns about the methods through which humanitarian aid is planned to be sent from Colombia to Venezuela".

Mr Guaido, for his part, said in an interview published on French daily Le Monde's website on Friday that he and his political allies were busy "building a veritable majority in the country".

Most Latin American and European countries also support Venezuelan opposition claims the Maduro government is now illegitimate, after it barred most opposition candidates from running in last year's election.

He has long rejected receiving humanitarian assistance, which he believes is foreign intervention.

"I think it is better for the transition to democracy in Venezuela that he be outside the country", Abrams said.

The Venezuelan military has barricaded the bridge at the border crossing between the two countries in a bid to block the aid from passing.

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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Asked what would happen if the Venezuelan military blocks the aid from going in, Whitaker said any obstacles would be dealt with as they arise and reiterated that Trump has made clear nothing is off the table - though, he added, the priority is to arrange a broad global mission. Maduro's security forces used freight containers and a tanker trailer to block the worldwide bridge near where the aid is arriving.

"The risk exists", says Leon. A Venezuelan migrant from Valencia State, Perez left her home 10 months ago in search of a better life in Colombia.

Venezuela's powerful military - which despite a few defections has remained loyal to Maduro - is seen as key to the outcome of the socialist leader's power struggle with his young rival.

For any "internal collapse" or implosion to happen, "it would be necessary for the military and the Chavistas to distance themselves".

Venezuela's dire situation has fueled a political crisis that has peaked over the last month with Guaido invoking a constitutional provision to declare himself the legitimate, interim president. "Do not stop it", he said, appealing to members of the country's armed forces while speaking at a meeting with farmers in Caracas. He suggested Guaido's offer was still too vague. On Friday, Romania's president became the latest world leader to recognize Guaido as interim president nearly a week after other European Union countries did so.

"The military sector needs face-to-face negotiations" with specific officials, "an global guarantor and probably a pardon being enshrined in the constitution", he said.

"It's a awful scenario because it does not solve the problem and makes the situation in the country worse", said Leon.

Venezuelan volunteers, Colombian firefighters and rescue workers prepare USAID humanitarian aid for storage at a warehouse next to the Tienditas International Bridge, near Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.

Dozens of volunteers prepared sacks of rice, canned tuna and protein-rich biscuits for malnourished children at a warehouse on the Colombian border on Friday as Venezuela's opposition vowed to deliver the USA humanitarian aid to their troubled nation, even if it means mounting a mass mobilization of their countrymen to carry it in.

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