Venezuela's military blocks humanitarian aid shipment

Venezuela's military blocks humanitarian aid shipment

The Venezuelan military has barricaded a bridge at a key border crossing, issuing a challenge on Wednesday to a USA -backed effort by the opposition to bring humanitarian aid into the troubled nation.

People cross into Venezuela over the Simon Bolivar global bridge in Cucuta, Colombia February 4, 2019.

A statement from the Prime Minister's Office said Trudeau spoke to Guaido about the need for countries to send a clear message about "the illegitimacy of the Maduro regime" and to ensure that Venezuela has free and fair presidential elections.

Bulgaria has joined the majority of European Union countries in recognising Juan Guaidó as interim President of Venezuela.

Eurasia said United States 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".

Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA is looking to sell more of its oil to customers in Europe and Asia as the USA sanctions are cutting off US buyers of its crude, a senior Venezuelan oil official loyal to Nicolas Maduro told Russian news outlet Sputnik in an interview published on Wednesday.

At the same time, the group welcomed into the Lima Group Guaido's "legitimate government of Venezuela" and vowed to "recognize and work with" his representatives in their respective countries.

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Canada and the Lima Group are backing Juan Guaido, the opposition leader who's the head of Venezuela's legislature, as Maduro's replacement.

Venezuela also marks an unusually forceful intervention in another country by Trump, who has promised to pull United States troops from Syria and Afghanistan and has held back on reprimanding USA allies over human rights.

Canada and the Lima Group of more than a dozen North and South American countries have backed Guaido as the legitimate replacement for Maduro, who followed left-wing populist Hugo Chavez into Venezuela's presidency after Chavez's death in 2013. She said that humanitarian volunteers would find a way to get the aid into the country regardless. Maduro, on the other hand, accuses the United States of trying to topple his administration.

Analysts Eurasia Group say the humanitarian crisis "represents a lose-lose gambit for Maduro as he will either have to allow the goods to enter the country, further bolstering Guaido, or force the military to block their entry, which would likely lead to more blowback in the streets".

The countries had earlier given Maduro an "ultimatum" to call for elections.

"From today, we will spare no effort in helping all Venezuelans achieve freedom, prosperity and harmony", Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said, referring to the decision to recognise Guaido as president.

Russia, China and Turkey still back socialist Mr Maduro and have accused Western nations of meddling in Venezuela's internal affairs.

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