U.S. urges European Union to recognise Guaido as Venezuela's president

Pence urges EU to recognise Guaido as Venezuela president

Pence urges EU to recognise Guaido as Venezuela president 16 Feb 2019

Mr Guaido, the Head of Venezuela's National Assembly, declared himself president of the crisis-wracked country in January, piling pressure on the president, Nicolas Maduro.

Saturday's 180-ton shipment includes high-energy food products or hygiene kits of soap, toothpaste and other goods for more than 25,000 people. That border city, swollen by a flood of migrants from Venezuela, is a collection point for aid that's supposed to be distributed by supporters of Juan Guaido, the congressional leader who is recognized by the USA and many other nations as Venezuela's legitimate president.

Guaido spoke to a crowd of supporters in eastern Caracas on Saturday and touted the humanitarian support, encouraging citizens to participate in the efforts.

"This wasn't the first, and it won't be the last", said USAID Administrator Mark Green, standing on the tarmac in Cucuta at a ceremony to receive the aid. "More is on the way".

According to David Smolanksy, coordinator of an OAS working group on migration and refugees from Venezuela, the money will go directly to aid collection centres set up on the borders with Colombia and Brazil and on the Caribbean island of Curazao.

Maduro asserts that aid could be used as a way for the United States to invade.

Guaido accuses Maduro of being a "usurper" over his controversial re-election a year ago in polls widely branded as fraudulent.

It is paid for, he said, stressing that Venezuela is not a "beggar" and its economic conditions will improve. "With dignity, we say 'No to the global show, ' Whoever wants to help Venezuela is welcome, but we have enough capacity to pay for everything that we need".

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"I believe that President Guaidó has done everything possible to make Maduro accept the humanitarian aid".

"Venezuela is preparing for the humanitarian avalanche", Guaido told about 4,000 supporters clad in white T-shirts and green scarves who gathered Saturday to sign up as volunteers.

But it remains unclear whether the aid will be allowed to enter Venezuela, because President Maduro has called the operation a USA -orchestrated show.

"It's a message to Venezuela that we are supporting their humanitarian needs", Shanahan told reporters, adding the aid was being transported by three C-17 aircraft.

Those targeted are "aligned with illegitimate former President Nicolas Maduro, who (continues) to repress democracy and democratic actors in Venezuela", a Treasury Department statement said.

Most Western countries and many of Venezuela's neighbours have recognized Guaido as the legitimate head of state, while Maduro retains the backing of Russian Federation and China and control of Venezuelan state institutions, including the military.

Scores of Venezuelan officials also face personal financial sanctions in the US.

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