BFF-10 Maduro says deal reached with Red Cross to send Venezuela aid

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VENEZUELA-POLITICS-AID

Maduro says deal reached with Red Cross to send Venezuela aid

CARACAS, April 11, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – President Nicolas Maduro announced Wednesday an

agreement with the International Committee of the Red Cross to bring humanitarian aid

into Venezuela.

The oil-rich country is enduring acute shortages of food, medicine and other basics,

and Maduro is locked in a power struggle with the increasingly popular leader of the

opposition, national assembly speaker Juan Guaido.

In an about-face, Maduro said on national TV and radio that his government and the Red

Cross had agreed “to work together with UN agencies to bring into Venezuela all the

humanitarian aid that can be brought.”

Maduro denies that Venezuela is suffering from a humanitarian crisis and blames US

sanctions for its economic woes.

In January Guaido tried to lead a drive to bring in donated food and medicine from

Colombia and Brazil but the effort failed as the army, which is loyal to Maduro,

blocked shipments at the border.

Maduro argued that letting in such assistance, much of it provided by the US, would be

the first step towards a US intervention.

On Wednesday he said this new aid campaign should be “managed without political

maneuvering, without farcical politicization and through the channels of legality and

respect.”

The UN says a quarter of Venezuela’s 30 million people are in urgent need of

humanitarian aid.

A United Nations agency says 3.7 million Venezuelans are malnourished and 22 percent

of children younger than age five suffer from chronic malnourishment.

Besides the shortages of food and medicine, Venezuela is saddled with hyperinflation

that is running at an estimated 10 million percent this year. That leaves people’s

wages all but worthless.

BSS/AFP/AU/07:35 hrs