Donald Trump urges Venezuela military to back Guaido

Posted February 19, 2019

Rubio told a cheering crowd that Venezuelan soldiers who blocked aid would spend "the rest of their lives hiding from justice".

The BBC's global correspondent Orla Guerin reports from Yare where the lack of food and medicines are claiming lives. Trump has officially recognized him as Venezuela's temporary leader, but Maduro still controls the military and is using it to cling to power.

Donald Trump will speak on Monday in the largest Venezuelan community in the United States, seeking to rally support for the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, and saying the South American country's "current path toward democracy is irreversible". Those who remain have been punished by hyperinflation that has put scarce food and medicine out of reach for many.

Venezuela should not be a puppet state of Cuba.

Military officials in Roraima said they had yet to receive orders, although a collection center could be set up quickly, with some businesses having already provided warehouses to that effect.

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Trump demanded that the Venezuelan military stop blocking the aid.

He spoke a few days after Guaido called on the Venezuelan Armed Forces, supporting President Nicolas Maduro, to change sides, in the anticipation of humanitarian aid arrivals to the crisis-hit country.

The development follows Venezuelan self-proclaimed president Guaido warning the country's military not to block humanitarian aid from entering Venezuela.

Critics say Maduro's re-election past year was fraudulent.

Guaido is the president of the National Assembly, a constitutional body that operates in parallel to the Constituent Assembly, a body Maduro established in 2017 for the goal of rewriting the Venezuelan Constitution.

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Last month, national security adviser John Bolton stood in front of the White House press corps with a legal pad that said "5,000 troops to Colombia", a note the White House declined to clarify beyond the president's remarks that all options are on the table.

Trump will also look to frame the situation in Venezuela in broader terms, arguing that a transition to democracy in Venezuela "will help promote democracy in Nicaragua and Cuba", Sanders said, calling it a "pathway for the first fully democratic hemisphere in human history".

On Monday, Trump said Maduro and the "small handful at the top of the Maduro regime" have stolen from Venezuela.

Branson said it is not funded by any government and that all artists are performing for free, hoping to raise donations from viewers watching it on a livestream over the internet.

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