Sunday, June 16, 2019 09:46:48 PM
AFP, Caracas :
Venezuelan military officers blocked a bridge on the border with Colombia ahead of an anticipated humanitarian aid shipment Tuesday, as opposition leader Juan Guaido stepped up his challenge to President Nicolas Maduro's authority.
The opposition-dominated National Assembly had earlier warned the armed forces, which make up much of Maduro's power base, not to cross a "red line" by blocking aid.
Guaido, who proclaimed himself acting president on January 23 - sparking an international crisis - claims that up to 300,000 people face death if the aid is not delivered.
"You know there's a red line, you know well there's a limit, you know that medicines, food and medical supplies are that limit," lawmaker Miguel Pizarro said in a message to the military.
Maduro, though, said humanitarian aid would be the forerunner of a US-led invasion, insisting that "nothing will enter, not one invading soldier."
Venezuelan military officers used a tanker truck and huge shipping container to block access to the Tienditas bridge, which links Cucuta, Colombia to Urena, Venezuela.
Franklyn Duarte, an opposition lawmaker from the border state of Tachira, told AFP that troops from the armed forces were blocking the crossing.
The aid delivery was being coordinated by Guaido, who has declared himself interim president of the oil-rich country and now enjoys the backing of some 40 countries as Venezuela's legitimate leader.
Maduro, 56, has repeatedly accused the United States of fomenting a coup.
The US, which has not ruled out a military intervention in crisis-wracked Venezuela, was the first to recognize him as acting president, followed by a dozen Latin American countries.
Britain, France, Germany and Spain were among 20 EU nations to side with Guaido this week after Maduro ignored their demands that he announce new presidential elections by February 3 Guaido is trying to force Maduro from power, set up a transitional government and hold a new presidential poll. He thanked his EU supporters "for supporting all Venezuelans in this struggle we undertake to rescue our nation's democracy, freedom and justice."
But key Maduro ally Russia slammed what it called interference in the oil-rich but now poor Latin American country, saying it was an attempt to "legitimize usurped power."
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the EU of trying to "topple the government by violence and ruse," while berating the US for treating Venezuela like "one of your states."
Guaido, 35, claims his legitimacy from the constitution and has been ramping up pressure on Maduro by calling his supporters out into the streets.
The next mass demonstration is due for February 12.
Guaido must still find a way to bring in the humanitarian aid given the military's loyalty to Maduro.
He accused the military on Monday of planning to divert aid being stockpiled in Colombia, Brazil and an unidentified Caribbean island, in order to distribute it through the socialist government's subsidized food program for its own supporters.
The National Assembly said the military must decide whether it is on the side of the people or "the problem."
Guaido knows he needs the armed forces on his side to dislodge Maduro. He was boosted on Saturday by the defection of a top air force general.
His fledgling alternative administration will hold talks in Washington February 14 on responding to "the largest hemispheric humanitarian crisis in modern history."
Eurasia Group analysts say the humanitarian crisis "represents a lose-lose
gambit for Maduro" who will either have to allow the goods to enter the
country, further bolstering Guaido, or force the military to block their
entry, risking a backlash in the streets.
Maduro, though, remains steadfast.
"Venezuela doesn't have to beg to anyone," he said. "If they want to help, then end the blockade and the sanctions."
Under Maduro's stewardship, oil-dependent Venezuela has plunged into an economic crisis, suffering from hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine.
Eurasia said US oil sanctions are "set to have a broad impact" with the government facing "the prospect of running out of gasoline, which could serve as another social catalyst." Guaido branded Maduro illegitimate over his reelection in May, which the
opposition boycotted after several of its leaders were either jailed, barred
or forced into exile.
The US and EU dismissed the elections as a fraud.
Maduro has flatly rejected demands for new elections, telling Spanish television he would not "cave in to pressure."
He has supported plans for a meeting of Latin American and EU states in a "Contact Group" in Montevideo on Thursday, though.
The United Nations said 40 people were killed in clashes with security forces in a week of protests last month, coinciding with Guaido's self-proclamation as acting leader. Local NGO Foro Penal said almost 1,000 people were detained between January 21 and 31.
Virat Kohli will have history on his side when India take on arch-rivals Pakistan in a World Cup blockbuster on Sunday -- a clash that is always more than just a game of cricket.India cut off bilateral cricket ties with its neighbour after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, with authorities ...
England captain Eoin Morgan said that his team is "not at panic stations", after he and Jason Roy left the field with discomfort during the game against West Indies in Southampton on Friday, 14 June.Both Roy and Morgan had left the field at different points during West Indies' innings and ...
Reuters, Dushanbe :Iran will continue scaling back compliance with its nuclear deal commitments unless other signatories show "positive signals", the Iranian president told a meeting of Russian, Chinese and other Asian leaders in Tajikistan.Iran stopped complying in May with some commitments in a 2015 nuclear deal that was agreed with ...
A total of 298 people were killed and 860 sustained injuries in road accidents across the country during the Eid-ul Fitr vacation. A report of Bangladesh Jatri Kallyan Samiti presented the statistics at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters' Unity on Saturday. It said the accidents took place within 13 ...
After Karan Johar's period drama, Takht and Homi Adajania's Angrezi Medium, Kareena Kapoor Khan has given her nod to another big project and it's one of the most awaited projects already. Thanks to the incredible popularity and credibility of its leading man, superstar Aamir Khan. Yes, after 3 Idiots (2009) ...
THE government in the FY 2019-20 budget announcement set many promises including 8.2 percent GDP growth rate and bring down the inflation at 5.5 percent. In first look, we think the promises are over ambitious. The ever biggest budget of Tk 523,190 crore is a may appear as biggest mockery ...
Reuters, Tokyo :Iran has no intention of making or using nuclear weapons, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted as saying on Thursday by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.Khamenei's comment, a reiteration of Iran's stance, comes at a time of increased US-Iranian tension, a year after Washington abandoned an ...
A Global Icon, Deepika Padukone tops the list of Most Gorgeous Women in the World from Bollywood. Giving a definition to beauty, Observer Dawn wrote: “Beautiful women in the world have created a magic history through their work and other qualities.” They further added, “There is definitely more to beauty ...
PRIME MINISTER Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday told Parliament that the public perception about many of the Anti-Corruption Commission employees being involved in corruption was not totally baseless. Responding to a supplementary question from ruling Awami League lawmaker Rafiqul Islam, leader of the House said that all the employees of the ...
Aaron Finch's captaincy has earned him the praise of Michael Vaughan, who hailed Finch's tactical nous, following Australia's 41-run victory against Pakistan in Taunton on Wednesday, 12 June.Vaughan hailed Finch's shrewd and brave decision-making, and called him the best captain at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2019 so ...
AFP, Tehran :Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged Tehran to play a "constructive role" for Middle East peace Wednesday during a rare diplomatic mission to the Islamic republic aimed at defusing US-Iran tensions.Iran has been locked in a bitter standoff with the United States since US President Donald Trump withdrew ...
Reuters, Moscow :President Vladimir Putin said relations between Moscow and Washington were getting worse and worse, noting in an interview published on Thursday that the current U.S. administration had imposed dozens of sanctions on Russia.Putin made his gloomy assessment ahead of a G20 summit in Japan later this month at ...
Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Few months ago, popular TV actress of present time Ahona Rahman was seriously injured in a road accident. Before Eid after getting well she again became busy with acting. In Eid-ul-Fitr, Ahona acted several dramas and serials were telecasted in different TV channels. Her acting was highly ...
Sheikh Arif Bulbon :After releasing popular actress and singer Ishita’s new song titled Aamar Obhiman she is getting huge appreciation from the music-lovers for her emotional rendition. Title of the song is Kere nio raat-er joto ghum, Aro nio bishadgrostho bela, Mene nio nio ekla thaka, Durey rekho tomar obohela, ...