USA sends aid to Colombia-Venezuela border; Maduro rejects help

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Members of the National Guard have blocked the bridge where the aid is expected to arrive with a tanker and two large cargo containers.

The United States is sending food and medical supplies to Colombia's border with Venezuela where it will be stockpiled until it can be delivered to the economically shattered nation, US officials with knowledge of the plan said today.

U.S. Agency for International Development chief Mark Green tweeted on Wednesday that the humanitarian aid is ready to move across the border as soon as possible.

President Donald Trump plans to ramp up the pressure on Venezuela's embattled leader Nicolas Maduro in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, doubling down on USA support for his challenger Juan Guaido.

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In a declaration, the group urged the Venezuelan military to support Guaidó. "You want to humiliate Venezuela, and I will not let our people be humiliated", he said on Monday.

Mexico and Uruguay had hoped that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres would attend a conference in Montevideo on Thursday aimed at promoting dialogue between Venezuela's self-proclaimed President Juan Guaido and leader Nicolas Maduro. Maduro's adversaries have warned that Venezuelan officials are seeking to drain state coffers ahead of a potential change of government.

President Juan Guaido, meeting with farmers in Caracas, is recognised as president of Venezuela by around 40 nations, including many in the EU.

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

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Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the global community should help support Guaido by trying to block Maduro's government from foreign business transactions involving oil, gold and other assets.

Guaido has pleaded with the military, the key power behind Maudro's authority, not to block the aid, claiming that up to 300,000 people face death without it.

Venezuela's armed forces would be crossing a "red line" if they were to block humanitarian aid from entering the country, the opposition dominated National Assembly said on Tuesday. Canada has already contributed $2.2 million for the humanitarian crisis that's forced some three million Venezuelans from their homes, sending ripples across the region - particularly in neighbouring Brazil and Colombia, which are now faced with a refugee crisis.

Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA is looking to sell more of its oil to customers in Europe and Asia as the USA sanctions are cutting off US buyers of its crude, a senior Venezuelan oil official loyal to Nicolas Maduro told Russian news outlet Sputnik in an interview published on Wednesday. Maduro argues Venezuela isn't a nation of "beggars" and has long rejected receiving humanitarian assistance, equating it to a foreign intervention.

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