Venezuela’s Maduro facing growing pressure over humanitarian aid

Latin America

Venezuela's Maduro facing growing pressure over humanitarian aid

Venezuela’s President is facing growing pressure, at home and abroad, to allow humanitarian aid into the country. Nicolas Maduro continued to block the border crossing with Colombia where tons of food and medicine has been piling up.

Venezuela’s self-declared interim President Juan Guaido said the blockade was a crime against humanity.

CGTN’s Toby Muse is at the Colombia-Venezuela border.

Doctors said that each day the Venezuelan government refused to allow in food and medical supplies signaled another day that risked the lives of those in desperate need.

The aid sits just 300 meters (328 yards) behind them, stuck in a warehouse on the Colombia-Venezuela border. The doctors are protesting the Venezuelan government’s decision to block the 50 tons of aid from crossing over a bridge.

“The situation is grave where people are dying for lack of medicines, lack of treatment, lack of doctor teams to fulfill their jobs completely. Unfortunately, we’re not giving, providing a health service in Venezuela, we’re helping our patients die in the best way,” Dr. Luis Eernesto Jaimez Orozco said.

The Venezuelan opposition is demanding the U.S. donated supplies be allowed in. While some have promised to march peacefully, others have said a direct challenge to the government may come days or weeks from now.

The aid itself can feed about 5,000 people for 10 days, a drop in the ocean for a population of nearly 32 million.

This fight is mostly symbolic, between two men who now call themselves president of Venezuela. President Nicolas Maduro, who sits in Caracas and the opposition leader and self-appointed interim president Juan Guiado. Their fight is to see who rules Venezuela.

At the Simon Bolivar bridge that connects Venezuela and Colombia, thousands of Venezuelans cross back and forth every day.

“We buy hair, we sell telephones,” one man said. He’s offering to buy human hair from Venezuela women.

Janeth Monsalve sells what Venezuelans can’t find back home. Diapers, food and today aspirin and ibuprofen.

“There’s nothing in Venezuela. The people come here to eat. To buy food, to buy nappies. To buy soap,” Monsalve said.

She asks that Venezuela’s president change his mind and allow the aid into the country which is coping with hyperinflation and food shortages.

“This man should take pity and don’t play with the lives of our children, old people and the sick.”