Venezuela's Guaido calls for nationwide protests to allow USA aid to enter

Humanitarian aid for Venezuela

REUTERS Luisa GonzalezUS to Increase Efforts to Bring Humanitarian Aid to Venezuela- Special Envoy Abrams

Trump said Monday that the US stands behind opposition leader Juan Guaido and condemns Maduro and his government's socialist policies.

Trump fired up the crowd Monday when he said socialism is on the way out.

Maduro is using troops to block the aid from entering, saying it is not needed and is part of a USA -orchestrated attempt to overthrow him. Despite the fighting talk, Maduro has reportedly invited Abrams to meet for talks.

"The state of Florida is now the home of thousands of Venezuelans, many of them facing deportation to a country that is falling apart", she said.

Critics of the Trump administration's push for regime change in Caracas have also pointed out that Elliott Abrams - the State Department's recently appointed special envoy for Venezuela - ordered the delivery of weapons to US-backed rebels in Nicaragua under the guise of "humanitarian aid" back in 1986.

Cucuta, swollen by a flood of migrants from Venezuela, is a collection point for aid that's supposed to be distributed by supporters of Guaido.

He also reiterated a refusal to allow humanitarian aid, calling boxes of USA -donated food and pediatric supplies sitting in a warehouse on the border in Colombia mere "crumbs" after the US administration froze billions of dollars in the nation's oil revenue and overseas assets.

The U.S. has used military and civilian aircraft to fly in food and personal care aid in an effort meant to undermine Maduro and dramatize his government's inability to overcome shortages of food and medicine.

Guaido has set a target of signing up to a million volunteers to help bring in the aid, with 600,000 already registered.

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"Today, we must let the Venezuelan people hear us with a united voice", she said.

But Maduro, who asserts that aid could be used as a cover for a USA invasion, called for reinforced border security.

The Venezuelan government, led by embattled President Nicolas Maduro, last week blocked a bridge connecting Venezuela to Colombia, effectively cutting off the humanitarian aid called for by Venezuela's opposition via that route.

"If he wants to meet, just tell me when, where and how and I'll be there", Maduro said without providing more details.

In particular, Trump reportedly pointed to what he considered past cases of "successful gunboat diplomacy" in the region, such as the invasions of Panama and Grenada in the 1980s, AP reported, citing a U.S. official.

Despite declaring himself interim president last month and being recognized by the US, Guaido ultimately has no say over whether the aid is allowed in. Guaido has announced that humanitarian aid will enter Venezuela on Saturday, the day after Branson's concert. Last year, the US government sent more than $100 million in aid to Cucuta to help Colombian authorities absorb some of the estimated 3 million of Venezuelans fleeing hyperinflation and food shortages. The hard times and a crackdown on dissent have driven nearly 3 million Venezuelans to flee the country. He also played a leading role in managing the U.S.'s tepid response to a brief coup that toppled Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 2002.

"We paid for it with our own money because we're beggars to no one", he said.

But those who renounce Maduro have been promised amnesty by Guaido and the opposition-dominated congress, although few soldiers have accepted that promised.

President Trump also once again hinted that military options are not off the table to support Guaidó in the country's power struggle.

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