USA sends food, medical supplies to Colombia-Venezuela border

USA sends food, medical supplies to Colombia-Venezuela border

The so-called Lima Group includes more than a dozen Western Hemisphere nations.

Canada and the Lima Group are backing Juan Guaido, the opposition leader who's the head of Venezuela's legislature, as Maduro's replacement.

Earlier, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged Can$53 million ($40 million US) in humanitarian aid for Venezuelans amid the deepening crisis.

"This is a process led by the people of Venezuela in their very courageous quest to return their country themselves to democracy in accordance with their own constitution", she said.

Guterres was encouraged by last Saturday's peaceful protest, saying "Our strong call is to avoid all forms of violence, that, of course, have no goal and do not benefit anyone".

However, Venezuela's opposition, led by Guaido, has made it clear that any offers of dialogue must start with negotiating the terms of Maduro's exit.

"This is already quite advanced, I hope that next week it can be announced by our representative in the United States", Paparoni said, though he did not give details about the nature of the US -based fund or the financial institution involved.

The Foreign Ministry said that on January 26 2019, the European Union, including Bulgaria, called for the urgent holding of free, transparent and fair presidential elections in Venezuela.

The U.S. officials said trucks carrying the humanitarian aid were headed to Cucuta at the request of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who last month declared himself to be the South American nation's interim president.

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Maduro's military has barricaded a bridge between Venezuela and the Colombian border town of Cucuta, a potential crossing point.

"From today, we will spare no effort in helping all Venezuelans achieve freedom, prosperity and harmony", said Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish prime minister.

But Maduro's government past year sold 73 tonnes of gold to Turkey and the United Arab Emirates without the required approval of the opposition-led National Assembly, Paparoni told a news conference.

Canada has announced a humanitarian relief package for Venezuela.

They also urged Venezuela's military to support Guaido as interim president and "not to impede the entry and transit of humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans".

The European support comes after Maduro did not meet their Sunday night deadline to call a new presidential election. Political tensions in Venezuela between the ruling socialist party and Washington-backed conservative opposition groups came to a head after Maduro was sworn in to a new term on January 10.

Mr Maduro has shown no signs of bowing to the pressure, warning that he could not rule out civil war if the protests against his regime continued. He was boosted on Saturday by the defection of a top air force general.

Maduro has blamed the United States for manufacturing a military coup against his country.

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