Trump says United States backs Venezuela's 'quest for freedom': speech excerpts


Hundreds of protesters marched down two main Buenos Aires avenues to the US embassy on Tuesday in a show of support for embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and to oppose USA involvement in that country.

Shipments aree also coming from Venezuelan companies overseas, Colombia, Canada and Germany.

USA officials told Reuters aid was on its way this week.

"I'm pleased to inform the Venezuelan people that this transaction has until now been halted, protecting the resources of all Venezuelans", Paparoni said.

Police who provide security on the Colombian side of the bridge told Reuters there has been a huge number of Venezuelans asking when and where the aid will be delivered.

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Last month, the Lima Group announced a travel ban on senior Venezuelan officials and a freeze on their foreign assets. Maduro blames Washington and other Western nations for sabotaging Venezuela's economy, including through sanctions.

Guterres said he was following the crisis in Venezuela "with a lot of concern", adding that he had discussed the various initiatives put forward with the countries involved.

In the nearby border town of La Parada, hundreds of people, some in wheelchairs, lined up in the hot sun to buy medicine.

"It's cheap here, I always come", she said as a pharmacist handed over the pills.

They have joined the United States in pushing for a change of regime in Venezuela, which is now seeing an acute shortage of medicines and hyperinflation despite being an oil-rich country.

The move follows the failure of the embattled incumbent Nicolas Maduro to call new presidential elections as demanded by the Europeans and other foreign countries.

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Maduro, though, said humanitarian aid would be the forerunner of a US-led invasion, insisting that "no one will enter, not one invading soldier".

Mexico and Uruguay have not recognized Guaido, the head of the National Assembly who declared himself acting president on January 23 in place of Maduro. "Sometimes they despair but we can't do anything, it's so sad", said a patrolman located a few yards (meters) from the border. Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey stood up for Maduro's support.

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Donald Trump reaffirmed USA support for Guaido, saying "we stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom".

Venezuela's government said on Monday it would revise bilateral relations with European Union member states that have recognized Guaido as legitimate head-of-state, saying their move would affect relations with Caracas.

On February 4, General Francisco Esteban Yanez Rodriguez, a top Venezuelan air force officer, pledged his support to opposition leader Juan Guaido.

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Guaidó also plans to drop the requirement that PDVSA hold a majority stake in all joint projects, as the leader looks to boost oil production as soon as possible, Guaidó's envoy to the U.S., Carlos Vecchio, said earlier this week.