The US has sent humanitarian aid for Venezuela to the Colombian city of Cucuta, located near the Venezuelan border, in efforts to boost a plan to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, according to The New York Times.
The aid — said to be "nutritional supplements" and hygiene kits — is being delivered via Boeing C-17 military cargo planes, and is estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The humanitarian aid is supposed to reach Venezuela on February 23, a date set by self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido.
Maduro, who says the US could be delivering weapons in the aid containers, has blocked roads to Cucuta and ordered armed forces to be ready to counter "conspiracies and provocations."
The U.S. military is delivering this peaceful, humanitarian-assistance in response to the urgent and emergency conditions the Venezuelans are facing, and in response to requests by Interim President Juan Guaido and Venezuela’s National Assembly. pic.twitter.com/KFBA6jIcdT— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) 16 февраля 2019 г.
US officials claim, however, that Venezuelan generals only support Maduro out of personal interests. Guaido has called on the Venezuelan Armed Forces to "take the side of constitution" Saturday, giving the military seven days to do so.
In the meantime, the US State Department is preparing to evacuate the US embassy from Caracas. The department has kept a small team in place that may have to be pulled out quickly if the security situation suddenly deteriorates, the report says.
The U.S. military has delivered hundreds of tons of aid to partner nations over the last five years. The United States is proud to mobilize whole-of-government support for its partners in need, including Venezuelan President Guaido and the people of Venezuela.— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) 16 февраля 2019 г.
US President Donald Trump has not excluded the possibility of a military intervention in the ongoing Venezuelan conflict — something that Juan Guaido has repeatedly condemned.
The U.S. is wheels up and headed for Cucuta with more humanitarian assistance. Over the next several days, the United States will deliver over 180 metric tons of supplies, including hygiene kits, food items, and other supplies to be prepositioned for Venezuela.— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) 16 февраля 2019 г.
The US national security adviser, John Bolton, was recently photographed with a notepad in which he had scribbled "5,000 troops to Colombia," according to the Times. When asked about the phrase, the White House said "all options are on the table."
1st of 3 @USAirForce C-17s flying #humanitarian aid from Miami to Cúcuta, Colombia, takes off from @Homestead_ARB. @StateDept, @USAID & @deptofdefense, in a cooperative effort, is delivering aid to the people of #Venezuela. #EstamosUnidosVE @WHAAsstSecty @theOFDA @USAenEspanol pic.twitter.com/ZFAvSXw1uL— US Southern Command (@Southcom) 16 февраля 2019 г.
In addition, Washington has imposed numerous rounds of sanctions on Caracas, seizing assets of the Latin American state. Russia, Turkey, and China, as well as several other countries, have refused to support the opposition leader, backing Maduro as the country's legitimate president.