CARACAS – Venezuela leftist incumbent Nicolas Maduro called on Tuesday for the “threats of military invasion” to recede from the country, which has been mired in a severe political, social and economic crisis over the past month after his legitimacy as president began to be questioned by numerous nations.
“I want peace for Venezuela, we all want peace for Venezuela. Let the drums of war go away, let the threats of military invasion go away, and let Venezuela ... (speak) with a single voice: We want peace, we want happiness,” Maduro said at a Youth Day event in Caracas.
At the event, which was required broadcasting on all radio and television stations in the South American country, Maduro made an announcement concerning Feb. 23, the date on which the Venezuelan opposition says that humanitarian aid will begin entering the country across its borders with Colombia and Brazil.
Without mentioning that prospective entry of the humanitarian aid – primarily food and medicines – provided by assorted governments and companies, Maduro said that his administration will organize for Feb. 16, 17, 23 and 24 a house-to-house drive to sign up young people for his employment plan.
The Chavista leader has said that he will not allow any humanitarian aid to enter the country, claiming that this would simply be a pretext for foreign invasion.
The Venezuelan opposition considers the May 2018 election, in which Maduro handily won re-election although key opposition figures were banned from running against him, to be fraudulent – and thus his tenure in office to be illegitimate – along with a good portion of the international community.
The crisis worsened on Jan. 23, when the speaker of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, or Parliament, Juan Guaido, swore in as the country’s interim president invoking several articles of the Constitution and subsequently receiving the recognition of more than 40 countries, including the United States, some 20 European countries, Colombia and Brazil.
Guaido announced on Tuesday at a huge opposition demonstration or rally that the humanitarian aid being stockpiled just across the border in Colombia and Brazil will begin entering the country on Feb. 23.
Regime supporters also turned out – albeit in lesser numbers than attended Guaido’s rally – in Caracas and other cities to express their support for Maduro.