Washington: The US military on Friday (local time) delivered relief supplies to Venezuelan migrants in Colombia.
The aid, comprising food, medical supplies and hygiene kits, comes as the Donald Trump administration continues to put pressure on embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to step down from his post, The Hill reported.
“The United States remains deeply concerned about the crisis in Venezuela that has consequences for the entire region. A whole of government approach is needed to respond to the humanitarian impacts of this political and economic crisis,” said Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Davis.
He added that the request for relief came from Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has been recognised by scores of countries, including the US as the country’s interim President.
“In response to Interim President Juan Guaido’s request for international aid, the United States has pre-positioned relief supplies — including food, hygiene kits, and medical supplies — in Colombia and will continue to coordinate with President Guaido and his team of experts, governments in the region, and our humanitarian partners to mobilize aid for the Venezuelan people,” Davis put forth.
Guaido, who is recognised by the US and dozens of countries as Venezuela’s interim President, has been pressing for emergency food and medical supplies from Washington to be brought into the economically stagnant nation.
The aid supply to the Venezuelan migrants came hours after the US Treasury Department slapped sanctions against top Venezuelan officials in Maduro’s administration.
The penalties have been imposed on four officials from Venezuela’s security and intelligence structure and the president of an oil firm.
The sanctioned individuals are — Ivan Rafael Hernandez Dala, the commander of Maduro’s Presidential Guard and Venezuela’s Directorate General of Military Counter-Intelligence; Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, director general of the Venezuelan National Intelligence Service (SEBIN); Hildemaro Jose Rodriguez Mucura, first commissioner of SEBIN; Rafael Enrique Bastardo Mendoza, commander of the Venezuelan National Police Special Actions Force (FAES); and Manuel Salvador Quevedo Fernandez, president of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA, as per The Hill.
Venezuela has been reeling under a political crisis since January 10 after Maduro was sworn-in for a second six-year term as the President, prompting protests by the country’s Opposition.
Subsequently, Guaido, on January 23, proclaimed himself as the president, despite Maduro winning the presidential elections last year.
A defiant Maduro, who is backed by the country’s powerful military, claimed that the opposition protests are an attempt by the US to stage a coup and overthrow him.
While most European countries have also recognised Guaido as the interim President, countries like Russia, China, Turkey, amongst others, have slammed foreign interference in Venezuela and shown support for Maduro.