US military plane arrives in Colombia with aid destined for Venezuela on February 16, 2019. (Photo: CGTN)
A US military transport plane carrying humanitarian aid meant for Venezuelans landed on Saturday in the Colombian border city of Cucuta, where food and medicine is being stored amid uncertainty over how and where aid will be distributed.
The shipment will be the second arrival of large-scale Uand international aid for Venezuelans, many of whom have scant access to food and medicine, since opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president in defiance of socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
Guaido, who argued Maduro's 2018 re-election was a sham and invoked constitutional provisions to declare himself the country's leader last month, has said aid will enter Venezuela on February 23.
Aid for Venezuela is inspected after being unloaded from a US Air Force plane at Camilo Daza Airport in Cucuta, February 16, 2019. (Photo: VCG)
But it remains unclear whether the aid will be allowed to enter Venezuela, because President Maduro has called the operation a U.S.-orchestrated show.
Speaking in Caracas to supporters who had volunteered to help with the aid effort, Guaido said he would announce details on Monday about how he planned to get aid into the country from Colombia, Brazil and Curacao despite Maduro's opposition.
"We will organize ourselves into brigades," Guaido said, calling on the military to allow the aid through. "The message we have to get through to the armed forces is that they have one week to do the right thing. Will you be on the side of your family and your people or of the usurper who keeps lying?"
People receive food at the Casa de Paso La Divina Providencia soup kitchen during a meal service for Venezuelan migrants in the town of La Parada, Cucuta, February 11, 2019. (Photo: VCG)
Millions of Venezuelans will be traveling to the border to safeguard arriving aid, said Lester Toledo, a Guaido representative, at a news conference in Cucuta.
"We are seven days from this being a reality," Toledo said. "We are going to have the accompaniment of people, of hundreds of thousands, of millions of Venezuelans that our president Juan Guaido has called upon, who we have asked to go to the border dressed in white as a sign of peace."
The supplies, including hygiene kits and special products meant for children suffering malnutrition, are arriving from a US Air Force base in Florida, the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.
A view of food suplements packs after US Air Force aircrafts carrying humanitarian aid for Venezuela landed at Camilo Daza International Airport in Cucuta, February 16, 2019. (Photo: VCG)
Additional aid flights will take place over the coming days, the statement said, and medical supplies and pharmaceuticals meant for use in hospitals will arrive early next week.
The first aid shipment, which included basic foodstuffs and medical supplies, arrived on February 8 and is being stored in a Cucuta warehouse.