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US increases aid shipments to Venezuela as opposition protests accelerate


US increases aid shipments to Venezuela as opposition protests accelerate

f guaido a 20190208
f guaido a 20190208
Photo: Reuters

Today, the US will attempt to deliver 200 tons of humanitarian aid to Venezuela from Colombia. Meanwhile, opposition leader Juan Guaido has pledged to mobilise some 600,000 Venezuelans to demand entry of the supplies.

Embattled President Nicolas Maduro has consistently rejected offers of foreign aid. This week, he blocked points of entry with Brazil and the nearby Dutch Caribbean Islands. The president has threatened to do the same along the Colombian border, where supplies are currently being amassed.

The aid push is part of a larger US plan to avoid military intervention by driving a wedge between Mr Maduro and the Venezuelan military, the key state organ allowing the president to maintain power. Should the military break from Mr Maduro and admit the aid, it would be seen as tacit support for Mr Guaido, potentially leading the president to step down.

Long-suspected of human rights abuses and drug trafficking involvement, top military officials have a lot to lose if President Maduro resigns. Scepticism of the authenticity of US offers of amnesty also remain. While military officials will likely continue backing Mr Maduro for now, a breaking point could be reached if the increasingly disgruntled rank-and-file troops back the opposition.

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Ultimately, both sides will likely declare ‘victory’ today, but the dispute and resulting chaos is expected to continue unabated.

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