CARACAS – Venezuela’s interim President Juan Guaido, who has been acknowledged as the country’s leader by more than 50 countries, said on Thursday that the “delay” in recognizing the emergency in his country on the part of the United Nations and the International Red Cross (ICRC) should cause other multilateral organizations to reflect on their own stances.
“It should lead to reflection by the multilateral entities, it should lead to reflection by entities concerned about the matter. You don’t create from one day to the next seven million citizens at risk of dying without bearing in mind the underlying health emergency that we have as a result of the lack of basic services,” Guaido told reporters.
The opposition leader referred to the fact that on Wednesday UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that “according to the latest estimates,” seven million people in Venezuela “need humanitarian assistance.”
“We’re working to broaden our assistance in accord with the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence,” Guterres said in a message on his Twitter account.
Guaido also commented on the announcement by Venezuela’s leftist incumbent Nicolas Maduro, who reported on an agreement with the Red Cross to let humanitarian aid enter Venezuela, and said that this was an “achievement” brought about by public pressure.
However, he emphasized that “Today, Venezuela knows that the solution to the emergency is the end of the usurpation,” by which he meant Maduro’s tenure in the presidency.
Maduro won re-election to a second term in May 2018 and was inaugurated in mid-January 2019, and shortly thereafter Guaido swore in as the country’s interim president, saying that Maduro had usurped power in a fraudulent election, a position that has been backed by more than four dozen nations.
“Saying that this is a meeting point with a regime that created an unprecedented crisis would be very benevolent ... There is no meeting point with a dictatorial regime that created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis,” he said.
Venezuela is going through a severe economic crisis that has resulted in significant scarcities of medicines and medical supplies, a situation that has been denounced by assorted health care providers and the Venezuelan opposition, which in February tried unsuccessfully to get aid donations from the United States and other nations and warehoused in Colombia, Brazil and Curaçao into the country.
At that time, Maduro refused to allow the aid to enter, saying that the whole thing was a “political show” and could be the pretext for a foreign invasion.
Maduro, who has denied that any humanitarian crisis exists in Venezuela, announced on Wednesday an agreement with the International Red Cross, whose president, Peter Maurer, this week visited the country to discuss how to strengthen his organization’s humanitarian footprint there.
Maduro said that Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza is negotiating a “formal” document with the Red Cross establishing the parameters for allowing the entry of humanitarian aid.