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News > Venezuela

UN Warns Against Politicizing Humanitarian Aid in Venezuela

  • U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric

    U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 February 2019

The aid contributed by the United States amounts to roughly 20 million dollars, considerably less than the amount of damage being done by President Donald Trump’s multi-billion dollar sanctions.

The United Nations warned on Wednesday against using aid as a pawn in Venezuela after the United States sent food and medicine to the country's border and accused President Nicolas Maduro of blocking its delivery with trucks and shipping containers.

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U.S. officials claimed trucks carrying aid had arrived in Colombia for delivery to Venezuela at the request of Juan Guaido, an opposition lawmaker who declared himself “interim president” after an attempted coup on January 23. On Sunday, Guaido illegally called a multinational coalition to send humanitarian aid through third parties in Brazil, Colombia, and the Caribbean.

However, in a statement, the health organizations' Colombian branch of The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement denounced the international coalition as counterintuitive. 

"The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid. The U.S. & other countries are trying to help, but Venezuela's military under Maduro's orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posted on Twitter on Wednesday, along with a photo of a blocked road.

However, Maduro's government has blamed economic sanctions for causing most of the situation experienced in the country. 

"Humanitarian action needs to be independent of political, military or other objectives," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York. "When we see the present stand-off it becomes even more clear that serious political negotiations between the parties are necessary to find a solution leading to lasting peace for the people of Venezuela," he said.

Guaido wrote to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last month asking for support, while Maduro wrote to Pope Francis asking to help to mediate dialogue with the opposition.

"What is important is that humanitarian aid be depoliticized and that the needs of the people should lead in terms of when and how humanitarian aid is used," Dujarric said.

There have been whispers in Washington that the Donald Trump administration is “seriously considering” a military intervention in Venezuela if Maduro does not step down or be ousted internally. The United States and right-wing governments in the region have been calling on the Venezuelan military to oust Maduro.

However, the military has stayed at Maduro’s side throughout the last few weeks, in full support of his legitimate claim to the presidency and rejected such interventionist demands and a breach of the Venezuelan sovereignty.

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