Humanitarian aid used as weapon in Maduro-Guaido conflict

11 February 2019 | International

Desperately needed aid being stockpiled at Venezuela's door is at the heart of a political duel between the two men fighting to lead the oil-rich nation: Juan Guaido and Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido, recognised as Venezuela's interim president by around 50 countries, has pressed the all-critical military to allow the mostly American humanitarian aid to reach the most vulnerable population, or around 300 000 people.

Maduro insists the shortages plaguing the country are caused by Washington's punitive sections, and he has vowed to stop the “spectacle of fake humanitarian aid.”

The aid “is at the heart of the struggle between two pillars of power,” political scientist Luis Salamanca told AFP.

“This struggle is playing out as concerns the future of the armed forces. Guaido is trying to get the military on his side, while Maduro tries to keep it behind him.”

Using a tanker truck, two container trucks and barriers, the army has been blocking the Tienditas border bridge since Thursday.

Several hundred metres (yards) from there on the Colombia side are the hangars where the emergency aid is being stockpiled.

For John Magdaleno of the Polity consultancy, the confrontation between the two men is a “major event” that “is inevitably leading toward an escalation” between the government and the opposition, as well as between Maduro and the countries supporting his adversary.

“In the end, it's in the hand of the United States. They are the ones who can use force,” Magdaleno said.

President Donald Trump's administration, which has insisted that “all options are on the table”, has frozen the accounts of Venezuelan leaders and unveiled fresh sanctions to bar Maduro from accessing revenues from oil his country sells in the US.

Before possibly resorting to force, Washington is exploring “all other options” first, Magdeleno said, adding that “this chapter on humanitarian aid foreshadows a far more significant escalation that could trigger a military intervention.” However, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Kimberly Breier has insisted that the US has no intention of entering Venezuelan territory by force to distribute food and medicine. The United Nations said it's ready to send emergency aid to Venezuela, but only if Caracas agrees.

“Humanitarian aid should never be used as a political pawn,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Thursday. Venezuela has faced a major political and economic crisis in recent years. Expropriations have hurt industry and oil production, which finances 96% of the national budget, thus reducing imports of basic goods.

More than 80% of medicine and medical equipment are missing in a country that has the world's largest proven oil reserves, according to the pharmaceutical federation. There are constant cuts of basic services such as water and electricity.

Maduro accuses the United States of setting up an “international coalition... to intervene militarily in Venezuela under the pretext of a non-existing humanitarian crisis.”


Similar News


The Sudanese people win, again

5 days ago - 15 April 2019 | International

The Sudanese military on Friday swiftly replaced the country's transitional leader linked to the Darfur genocide after street rallies against him and said that it...

'I did not sell out'

5 days ago - 15 April 2019 | International

Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa has dismissed claims by his critics and supporters that his government has sold out by agreeing to pay compensation to white...

Assange's father wants him home

5 days ago - 15 April 2019 | International

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's father on Sunday called on Australia to bring his son home, saying he was shocked to see his son's condition after...

Geingob exposes 'agenda to divide'

3 weeks ago - 27 March 2019 | International

President Hage Geingob says there is an agenda to divide Africa on the issue of independence for the Sahrawi people. Speaking his capacity as...

'Stop denying genocide'

3 weeks ago - 25 March 2019 | International

Left Party parliamentarian in the German Bundestag, Helin Evrim Sommer, says the “German genocide against the Ovaherero and Nama can no longer be denied”.Sommer made...

The endgame

3 weeks ago - 25 March 2019 | International

After EU leaders approved a reset of the Brexit timetable, Britain is left with four possible courses ahead of an all-important parliamentary vote on the...

Idai wreaks havoc

1 month - 20 March 2019 | International

More than 1 000 people were feared dead in Mozambique four days after a cyclone slammed into the country, submerging entire villages and leaving bodies...

Trump shows SADC the middle finger

1 month - 07 March 2019 | International

US president Donald Trump has renewed sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by another year, snubbing SADC leaders, including current regional bloc chairperson President Hage Geingob, who...

On the road to recovery

1 month - 28 February 2019 | International

The newly elected president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Felix Tshisekedi, says his government's first priority is to bring peace and stability to...

Geingob castigated over Zim

1 month - 21 February 2019 | International

The 'Concerned Citizens of Zimbabwe' has criticised President Hage Geingob for his recent statement on the political and socio-economic situation in the neighbouring country.During a...

Latest News

Chinese embassy condemns Andara killing

1 day - 18 April 2019 | Crime

The Chinese embassy has condemned the killing of a 32-year-old man at Andara in Kavango East yesterday. The man was allegedly shot and killed by...

Thought Leadership

2 days ago - 18 April 2019 | Columns

Ashante MannettiIn this fast-paced world we try to juggle a million things at once. Job, family, friends, eating healthy and we know we still need...

Taking charge

2 days ago - 18 April 2019 | People

Mariselle Stofberg Anthea van Heerden decided to take a leap of faith to start her own company in Windhoek.She is the managing director and...

Chained worker 'joke' backfires

2 days ago - 18 April 2019 | Labour

Nic Kruger, the owner of Kruger Trading Enterprises (KTE) Custom Body Work in Windhoek, yesterday vehemently defended the honour of his foreman who had chained...

Gangster's paradise

2 days ago - 18 April 2019 | Government

President Hage Geingob has revealed that 329 red-flagged financial transactions, involving N$9.2 billion, have been referred by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) for further investigation...

ACC probes Katiti

2 days ago - 18 April 2019 | Crime

Augustinus Katiti's attempts to have the Anti-Corruption Commission investigate his successor at the Namibia Institute of Pathology have backfired. The ACC is now investigating Katiti...

Kabajani blossoms at GIPF

2 days ago - 18 April 2019 | People

Michelline Nawatises Annette Likeleli Kabajani is a holder of a bachelor’s degree from the University of Namibia (Unam). She has also attained several management and...

Baking a name for herself!

2 days ago - 18 April 2019 | People

Ester Kamati At the age of 28, Alma Tangi Nakanduungileh is climbing the entrepreneurial ladder and adding sweetness to her clients’ lives. A qualified...

A passion to unlock potential

2 days ago - 18 April 2019 | People

Ester KamatiJustina Mulokoshi is a chartered accountant (CA) at PwC who has big dreams and is constantly on the lookout for new ways to improve...

Load More