Venezuela opposition rallies to tell Maduro - Let aid in

Venezuela moves to replace US executives on Citgo board

Maduro claims the government needs its foreign assets to alleviate the shortages of food and medicines, which he says is being used by the Washington-backed opposition to paint a picture of a humanitarian crisis to justify a USA military intervention.

On Monday, Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said that his country has a "strengthened (military) presence" along the border with Colombia after a portion of the humanitarian aid had begun to be warehoused in Cucuta.

While the United Nations, the government in Caracas and many Latin American and Caribbean countries are committed to dialogue, the Venezuelan opposition led by Juan Guaido -head of a parliament in contempt and who was self-declared "interim president"- rejects that option and seeks USA support.

Belandria told reporters that several Brazilian government agencies would be involved in the aid operation, which would open up a second route for food and medicine to enter Venezuela after the main one in Colombia.

The socialist president says the humanitarian aid is part of a US -led coup and won't let it across the border.

Venezuela faces an economic crisis, including in the form of shortages of foodstuff and medicine.

Maduro said he will make "the sufficient investment for Venezuela" to strengthen its anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense system, and equip the militia with "even the most modern missiles in the world".

"Get out Donald Trump, get out his threats!", Maduro said. The military's backing is critical to the sway of power in Venezuela.

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The power struggle between the 35-year-old Guaido and President Nicolas Maduro may have reached a crucial stage. "This is a crime against humanity, men of the armed forces", Juan Guaido said. "We lack the factor that ultimately sustains dictatorships, which is the Armed Forces", he added.

Juan Carlos Capacho, a councilman from Cucuta, said Venezuela's history is being written, and the outcome depends on what the people of Venezuela do next. He said the U.S. supplies were sent in a showy display aimed at justifying a coup.

On the investigation that the Venezuelan Comptroller announced it would open for alleged global resources received, Guaido said that "an absolutely deteriorated regime with no credibility does not have any authority or legitimacy to speak after they have stolen all the money". "We are motivated by work, production, and growth of our economy".

Venezuela's financial accountability authority announced a probe into Guaido's income, saying he had "allegedly. received money from worldwide and national bodies without any justification". Many people fear the opposition will run out of steam, that it will not be able to keep up the pressure on the streets or that the worldwide community will soon turn to another trouble spot if it sees no development in Venezuela. "I assume they are happy we are renewing ties with Israel".

Pope Francis has said he would also be prepared to mediate but Guaido has rejected negotiations with Maduro, believing he would use them to buy time.

Guaido has vowed that the opposition, which he has re-galvanized, will keep protesting in order to keep up pressure on Maduro to step down so new presidential elections can be held.

Mr Guaido called the move "almost genocidal".

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