Guaido Gives Pro-Maduro Military 7 Days to ‘Take Side of Constitution’

© REUTERS / Carlos Garcia RawlinsJuan Guaido, President of Venezuela's National Assembly, holds a copy of Venezuelan constitution during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez in Caracas, Venezuela January 23, 2019
Juan Guaido, President of Venezuela's National Assembly, holds a copy of Venezuelan constitution during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez in Caracas, Venezuela January 23, 2019 - Sputnik International
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MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself the country’s interim president, called on the Venezuelan Armed Forces, supporting President Nicolas Maduro, to change sides, giving the military seven days to do so, in the anticipation of humanitarian aid arrivals to the crisis-hit country.

"February 23 is coming, gentlemen from the Armed Forces. It is a very important date for the Venezuelan society not only because we have an opportunity to stop this emergency, which is directly and indirectly killing people, but also to open the doors of change for Venezuela. You have this opportunity, you have eight days to take the side of the constitution," Guaido said during a forum dedicated to national oil industry.

Guaido suggested that "usurpation" of power by Maduro and his supporters should be ended in order to leave poverty, facing the country, behind.

READ MORE: Zakharova Mocks Bolton's Threat Against Those "Undermining" Venezuelan Democracy

23 February is the day when humanitarian aid, coordinated by Guaido, is expected to reach Venezuela. Earlier in February, Guaido warned the military that blocking the aid from entering the country would be a "crime against humanity."

A woman takes part in a rally in support of the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela. - Sputnik International
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The government of President Nicolas Maduro has been refusing to take in the aid saying it would justify foreign interference in the country’s internal affairs.

Christoph Harnisch, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Columbia, has said his organization would not assist in delivering the goods to Venezuela because the ICRC does not consider the US assistance to be humanitarian aid. Earlier this month, the ICRC warned US officials against politicizing humanitarian assistance and delivering aid without the consent of local authorities.    

READ MORE: US Officials to Join Military Flight Delivering Aid to Venezuela — Statement

On 23 January, Guaido, who is the speaker of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, proclaimed himself an interim president until election is held in the country, saying that an article of the Venezuelan constitution allowed him to do this. This claim was subsequently denied by supporters of Maduro.

Guaido was almost immediately recognized by the United States and its allies. Russia, China, Mexico, among other nations, voiced support for constitutionally elected Maduro, who, in turn, accused Washington of orchestrating a coup in the country.    

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