Tensions rise as Venezuela blocks border bridge in standoff over aid

"We reject the partisan and ideological nature of the document", Maduro said on Friday, adding that he would always welcome dialog with anyone.

The head of Venezuela's National Assembly and the country's self-proclaimed "acting president" Juan Guaido (R) speaks next to his wife Fabiana Rosales (C) and activist Lilian Tintori (L), wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, to a crowd of opposition supporters in Caracas, on January 26, 2019.

"Inhibiting the entry of this aid could be seen as a crime against humanity".

According to the Guardian, Guaido told students in Caracas: 'They are already defeated, ' as he urged for more protests, following colossal demonstrations last weekend.

Justice Mendoza says Guaido is usurping presidential powers.

"If they dare to continue blocking the way, all these volunteers will go open a humanitarian channel", he said. The United States has urged the countries of the world to recognize Guaidó as the country's president.

Earlier this week, opposition leaders announced the coordinated shipments of baby formula, medical supplies, and food from the U.S., Colombia, and Venezuelans overseas.

Previous rounds have targeted dozens of Venezuelan military and government officials, including Maduro himself, and last month finally hit the OPEC member's vital oil sector.

Even though Maduro is unlikely to ever wave the US aid through, the U.S.is continuing to stockpile food and medicine at Venezuela's border with Colombia.

"We'll do everything we have to in a sovereign and autonomous manner to achieve an end to the usurpation, a transitional government and free elections", he said.

As darkness fell in the plush interior of the Miraflores Palace, Maduro queried his Electricity Minister.

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The United States is imposing a ban on the travel of the Venezuelan National Constituent Assembly's members to the USA, said a US envoy on Venezuela-related issues. Maduro has consistently denied that a humanitarian crisis is happening in the country, blaming food and medicine shortages on the U.S. sanctions, which have mostly targeted individuals and the state-owned oil company.

It was not immediately clear how the humanitarian aid would be delivered across the border.

China is a close ally of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, to whom it has lent billions to help shore up his embattled regime.

European nations have been broadly critical of Maduro but have sought to strike a counterpoint to the aggressive United States stance.

The EU-backed global contact group on Venezuela in its inaugural meeting in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo this week said overly forceful intervention could aggravate the crisis.

Critics say three previous dialogs have allowed the ruling Socialist Party to stall for time without making major concessions on key issues including imprisoned opposition politicians and electoral transparency.

  • Rogelio Becker