Venezuela UPRISING: Maduro on brink over aid block - 'Everyone is hungry!'

Feb 06, 2019, 17:37
Venezuela UPRISING: Maduro on brink over aid block - 'Everyone is hungry!'

Speaking further, the ambassador said that Venezuela would favor Russia's mediation in the settlement of the escalating political crisis in the country. Mexico, a Lima Group member opposed to steps aimed at ousting Maduro, did not attend.

Russia, China, Bolivia, Cuba, Iran, Mexico, North Korea, Turkey and Uruguay continue to back Maduro as leader.

The Europeans gave Mr Maduro (56) an eight-day deadline to call fresh elections, or else have his authority removed.

The situation deteriorated when Guaidó declared himself interim president and was recognized by a number of countries around the world including the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.

In power since former President Hugo Chavez's death in 2013, Maduro has been accused by critics of running the OPEC nation of 30 million people like a dictatorship.

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The group reaffirmed its support for Guaido and the opposition-controlled National Assembly, but rejected calls for a foreign military intervention, saying it supported a "peaceful transition".

Maduro sent a letter to Pope Francis requesting a renewal of dialogue in the crisis, the Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said in Abu Dhabi.

"Addressing military personnel at a "Civic-Military Patriotic March" commemorating the 27th anniversary of Hugo Chávez's failed 1992 coup d'état in the state of Aragua, Maduro pushed back on recent comments by President Donald Trump that the USA had not ruled out a military option in its efforts to remove Maduro from power".

"Nicolás Maduro, who was elected in a vote voted illegitimate by the European Union, the US, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia and other Latin American countries in 2018, has already announced that he will not comply with the call to organize new and transparent presidential elections", the ministry said.

The declaration in the final Lima Group communique from Monday's emergency meeting in Ottawa came two days after the defection of a top air-force general, once loyal to socialist president Nicolas Maduro.

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Last month, the Lima Group announced a travel ban on senior Venezuelan officials and a freeze on their foreign assets.

A USA official said the aid will be kept at the main Colombian-Venezuelan border crossing at Cucuta with more supplies being prepared in Brazil and in the Caribbean.

Venezuela is in the grip of severe shortages of food and medicine and an inflation rate of more than one million per cent, according to the UN.

Opposition politician Miguel Pizarro said Mr Guaido's team would talk about how the aid would move once it was in place.

Earlier this month, Wood Mackenzie analyst Ann-Louise Hittle warned that Venezuela's crude oil production could fall below 1 million bpd after the United States imposed new sanctions on struggling oil firm PDVSA.

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The demonstrators said peace will only be achieved through dialogue, not by a military coup.

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