Italy blocks EU's bid to get tough on Venezuela

Italy blocks EU's bid to get tough on Venezuela

Italy blocks EU's bid to get tough on Venezuela

The Venezuelan military has attempted to block humanitarian aid from entering the country by barricading a bridge at a key border crossing, Colombian officials said Wednesday.

Journalists cover the blockade of the border bridge of Tienditas between Colombia and Venezuela, in Cucuta, Colombia.

Desperate Venezuelans asked on Wednesday how they would gain access to US food and medicine aid due to arrive via the Colombia border after President Nicolas Maduro's government blocked the frontier crossing to any humanitarian shipments.

Guterres said he was following the crisis in Venezuela "with a lot of concern", adding that he had discussed the various initiatives put forward with the countries involved.

USA officials told Reuters aid was on its way this week. Turkey is among at least nine nations, including Russian Federation and China, that have declared support for Maduro. He has repeatedly called on Venezuela's military, which has remained loyal to Maduro, to support a transition to democracy.

Pressure is growing on Mr Maduro to step down after more than a dozen European Union countries joined the US, Canada and a group of Latin American countries in recognising Mr Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate leader.

Roughly 40 countries around the world have backed Guaido, who swore himself in as president in late January contending that as head of the opposition-led National Assembly he is Venezuela's rightful leader because Maduro's re-election previous year was a sham.

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Radev, head of state for the past two years after election on a ticket backed by the opposition and pro-Moscow Bulgarian Socialist Party, said that there is a real risk of escalation and violence in Venezuela, and it was critical to maintain dialogue between the government and the opposition.

Major European nations including Britain, Germany, France and Spain joined the United States on Monday in recognizing Guaido, while members of a separate regional bloc, the so-called Lima Group, kept the political heat on Maduro.

Maduro, though, said humanitarian aid would be the forerunner of a US-led invasion, insisting that "no one will enter, not one invading soldier". "We have to come to buy food because we can not even get cooking oil and eggs in Venezuela". "We are not beggars".

"We don't want to depend more on a food subsidies than is necessary today", he said, calling the blockade an "absurd reaction from a government that doesn't have the interest and well-being of Venezuelans" in mind.

On February 4, General Francisco Esteban Yanez Rodriguez, a top Venezuelan air force officer, pledged his support to opposition leader Juan Guaido.

He has accused the US of orchestrating a coup against his government and said he is open to dialogue with the opposition.

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