07:46 GMT +319 August 2019
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    Juan Guaido. File photo

    US Senator Threatens Maduro With 'Swift, Severe' Consequences if Guaido Harmed

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    Political Crisis in Venezuela (563)
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    The development follows Venezuelan self-proclaimed president Guaido warning the country's military not to block humanitarian aid from entering Venezuela. President Nicolas Maduro government has refused to take in the aid thus far, saying it could justify foreign interference in the country's domestic affairs.

    In an interview with CNN on Sunday, US Senator Marco Rubio warned that President Nicolas Maduro would face grave repercussions if the Venezuelan government harmed or imprisoned opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself the country's interim president last month.

    "There are certain lines and Maduro knows what they are. The consequences will be severe and they will be swift," Rubio said, also warning Maduro not to harm US personnel working in the country, adding that the United States would also respond if aid workers were targeted.

    READ MORE: Venezuelan Opposition Raises $100Mln From Intl Donors in DC — Guaido's Embassy

    Rubio declined to say if he would support possible US military action against Venezuela, but added that the Trump administration would not stand by if Maduro cracks down on Guaido.

    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.

    Tensions have further escalated ahead of 23 February, when US "humanitarian aid", which is currently stockpiled in Columbia, is expected to reach Venezuela.

    READ MORE: 'Humanitarian Avalanche': Guaido Announces Venezuela Aid Hub Creation in Miami

    The deadline was set by Guaido despite strong opposition from Maduro, who slammed it as a ploy to topple the Venezuelan government, instead demanding that Washington lift the economic sanctions imposed on Caracas.

    "It's a booby trap, they're putting on a show with rotten and contaminated food […] They've stolen $30 billion and are offering four crumbs of rotten food," Maduro claimed.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in turn, cautioned US officials against politicising humanitarian assistance and delivering aid without the consent of local authorities. ICRS was echoed by UN spokesman Stephen Dujarric who said earlier this month that humanitarian action related to Venezuela should be independent of political or military goals.

    Guaido was almost immediately recognised by the United States and its allies after he proclaimed himself Venezuela's interim president on 23 January, with Trump then telling CBS that the US military intervention in Venezuela remains "an option".

    Russia and China, among a spate of other nations, say that they recognise Maduro as Venezuela's only legitimate president.

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    Political Crisis in Venezuela (563)

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    Tags:
    domestic affairs, consequences, interference, government, humanitarian aid, Juan Guaido, Marco Rubio, Nicolas Maduro, United States, Venezuela
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