Venezuela's Maduro leads military exercises

Juan Guaido who has appointed himself interim president speaks to supporters in the Venezuelan capital Caracas.                     Image DPA  PA Images

Aid workers remain unable to provide healthcare professionals in the country with emergency medical resources because Maduro - who is no longer legally president of the country but still controls the military - ordered soldiers to blockade the bridge that connects Venezuela to Colombia.

National Assembly president Guaido's envoys met with Brazilian officials in Brasilia and announced plans to establish a second aid storage center in the state of Roraima, on Venezuela's southeastern border.

"We will not be participating in what is, for us, not humanitarian aid", Colombia's ICRC spokesperson, Christoph Harnisch, said recently.

Maduro has overseen an economic collapse in the oil-rich OPEC country that has left many Venezuelans malnourished and struggling to find medicine, sparking the exodus of an estimated 3 million Venezuelans.

They've been reporting on how the country is in the middle of food shortages, power cuts and widespread protests, with no clarity in sight on the political situation.

Maduro appeared on state television Sunday, showing off anti-aircraft systems and other weapons he says will make Venezuelan cities "impregnable".

"Maduro is unaware of the crisis (.) the deterioration of the quality of life, of public services, the risk of life we have in Venezuela", he said. The military's backing is critical to the sway of power in Venezuela.

Last week, Lester Toledo, Guaido's representative in the aid mission, suggested it could be moved by masses of people converging on the border to carry the food and medical supplies across.

A woman shouts slogans against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro during a protest against his government in Urena, Venezuela, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. The opposition says the USA -backed aid including food and medicine is needed due to Maduro's mishandling of the once-buoyant OPEC nation's economy, and they are working to get it delivered.

The militia is a civilian force founded in 2008 to supplement the armed forces.

Tarre said that a process will be launched for selecting the members of an independent electoral authority, moving toward a new list of voters and creating a voting mechanism.

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.

However, he stressed that in order to be impartial, holding elections will take time.

"What do we lack today after 20 years of work, sacrifice, to build a majority? I assume they are happy we are renewing ties with Israel". 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.

Maduro is refusing to step down or call for a new election, accusing the US of orchestrating a coup attempt.

Last week, he also rejected a call by European Union countries to hold elections, prompting them to recognize Guaido.

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