Rival demonstrations in Venezuela amid fresh blackouts

Latin America

Rival demonstrations in Venezuela amid a new round of power cuts

Help is on the way for Venezuela. The Red Cross says it will begin handing out some $60 million dollars worth of aid next month. But the group warned both government and opposition politicians not to interfere.

Last month, Caracas blocked a shipment, claiming it was being used as propaganda by the opposition. The news comes as the country grapples with another crippling blackout. CGTN’s Juan Carlos Lamas reports.

As opposition supporters gathered across the county, opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido addressed the crowds in the city of San Antonio, promising Venezuelans a better life. Demonstrators said they’re fed up with the blackouts, and shortages of food, water, and medicine they face on a daily basis.

“If the government really cared about us, the electricity issue would have been solved by now, but it’s not,” said Guaido supporter Eggardo Larez. “Things are getting worse each day.”

“Not having electricity means not having water either,” said Soraya Reyes. “This is complete chaos. The government stole the country’s wealth. That money that could have been invested to create a great working  power grid.”

President Nicolas Maduro also called on his supporters to take to the streets in what was billed as an anti-imperialist rally.

“Venezuela is the best country in the world,” said Maduro supporter Jesus Millan. “We have everything here, but the U.S. wants to intervene and steal our wealth.”

“The opposition is cruel and vile, and inhuman,” said Vanessa Roman. “They only look to destroy our country. They don’t know how to really love our home land.”

Maduro blames the recent blackouts on what he calls U.S.-directed sabotage. On Twitter, he thanked China for sending 65 tons of medicine and other supplies.

A recent United Nations report said a quarter of Venezuelans are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. The Red Cross plans to deliver aid to Venezuela in about two weeks, saying it will remain neutral and warning both sides not to interfere with distribution.