Venezuela: Minister Says Troops Will Remain On Border

Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Lopez said on Tuesday that troops will remain stationed along Venezuela’s border. The news conference comes just days before the opposition brings humanitarian aid to the country.

Former president Nicolas Maduro and other officials have repeatedly refused offers for humanitarian aid. They accuse the opposition and the US of trying to use the humanitarian aid as a way to remove Maduro from power.

Juan Guaido, who decided to take over as the country’s interim president on January 23, has revealed that the aid will enter Venezuela on February 23. The United States and many other countries have started sending aid to Colombia’s border.

Maduro and supporters have repeatedly said that they will not allow any humanitarian aid to enter the country. Days ago, the military was said to be behind the placement of shipping containers and an oil tanker along a bridge that connects Colombia and Venezuela.

Guaido has asked the military to step aside and allow the humanitarian aid to enter the country. The interim president announced the aid weeks ago but the delivery date was revealed recently.

US President Donald Trump and Florida Senator Marco Rubio have warned Venezuela’s military in recent days. The US President held an event with a crowd of Venezuelans and Cubans yesterday. During the event, he brought the mother of Oscar Perez to the stage and also talked about an opposition official who had to leave the country. Perez, who was a police officer in the country, was killed by security forces last year. He was wanted by authorities over an attack on government buildings. Perez made several social media posts before he was killed and the government was criticized for its use of force against the group.

Guaido has promised amnesty for the military who decides to step away from Maduro. Donald Trump said during yesterday’s event that the military who remains with Maduro will find no safe harbor and no way out.

Maduro and other officials insist that he is Venezuela’s president since he won a presidential election last year. The US and many countries refuse to recognize Maduro as president since the election was moved up and took place without most of the opposition.

Maduro and supporters have repeatedly denied that there is a humanitarian crisis in the country. They insist that the humanitarian aid is being used as a way to remove him from power. Some officials have suggested that the crisis is staged and that Venezuelans are not fleeing the country.

Estimates say that millions of Venezuelans have fled the country in the last four years. Surveys have also revealed that a high percentage of Venezuelans would leave the country if they had enough resources.

Humanitarian aid has been proposed in the past but Maduro has refused. The humanitarian aid, set to be delivered on February 23, will also bring a concert. Several artists have already confirmed or revealed that they would like to participate in the event.

Communication and Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez announced yesterday that they will hold their own concert on February 22 and 23. It is unclear which artists will attend the concert but it is not the first time that PSUV and supporters announce events for the same day and time as the opposition.