CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said on Monday that his team had delivered a first load of humanitarian aid that has become a flashpoint in his interrogation with President Nicolas Maduro without specifying how it had received it.
FILE PHOTO: A man has a banner that reads "Thanks international community" near a warehouse where humanitarian aid for Venezuela is kept near Tiendita's cross-border bridge between Colombia and Venezuela in Cucuta, Colombia, February 8, 2019 REUTERS / Marco Bello / File Photo
Guaido, which has been recognized by most Western nations as Venezuela's legitimate president in the past month, tweeted a picture of itself surrounded by stacks of white pots of vitamin and dietary supplements. He didn't say where or who they came from.
"Today, we delivered the first donation or the first load of humanitarian aid, albeit to a lesser extent, because you know they have blocked the border at the moment," Guaido, 35, said in Caracas television commentary on Monday tonight
Venezuela's opposition has coordinated efforts by Western nations, companies and organizations to provide assistance to Venezuela, where malnutrition and preventive disease have grown in recent years as the economy has nosedived.
Maduro has said that this is part of an American-orchestrated strategy to undermine and ultimately overthrow him. He says he won't allow this "show".
The United States recognized Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate leader last month after he declared himself self-president. Guaido claimed Maduro's re-election last year was a shame. The United States has since joined a majority of Western nations.
Senior US officials last week proclaimed their country's efforts to move aid to Venezuela's doorstep after US supplies were among those delivered to the first collection site established in the Colombian border town of Cucuta.
There has been no evidence of the support being stored in Cucuta leaving the warehouse.
Guaido, who has appealed to the military to allow in aid, has said it will be collected at points in Brazil and a Caribbean island as well as Cucuta.
Brazil has not yet commented on whether support is collected at any time there.
Leaders of the native Pemon community in the Venezuelan city, containing the only paved border crossing to Brazil, have told Reuters that they are determined to let the utility go through when and if it comes.
Meanwhile, Lester Toledo, Coordinator for International Humanitarian Aid to the Opposition, told Reuters on Monday that he received approval from the Netherlands to speak to the local Aruba and Curacao authorities about setting up an aid center there.
"(Guaido) will announce the day, from Colombia, from the islands to the sea and from Brazil, the humanitarian aid comes at the same time," Toledo said.
Reporting by Sarah Marsh, Fabian Cambrero, Deisi Buitrago and Vivian Sequera in Caracas, Lisandra Paraguassu in Brasilia; Editing Matthew Lewis