Venezuelan opposition welcomes Canada's call for military backing

Wilmer Guiado the taxi driving father of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guiado

The Tienditas International Bridge was blocked a day prior by the Venezuelan National Guard with a giant orange tanker, two large blue containers and makeshift fencing near the border town of Cucuta in Colombia.

It lands amid a political standoff between Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who asked for the worldwide assistance, and President Nicolas Maduro, who rejects it as part of an US -led coup.

The White House has announced that Colombian President Ivan Duque and First Lady Maria Juliana Ruiz Sandoval will visit on February 13 to discuss pro-growth policies, terrorism and illicit narcotic networks, regional security partnerships and efforts to restore democracy in Venezuela.

The United States has pledged $20 million in aid that is to be gathered in Colombia, Brazil and an unnamed Caribbean island, but Guaido won't be able to bring it into Venezuela without the military's agreement. "With ministers Néstor Ruiz Reverol and Aristóbulo Istúriz [minister of Education and vice president for social affairs], we said goodbye to the crew".

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and his wife Cilia Flores wave while they walk next to soldiers during a ceremony to commemorate the 27th anniversary of late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez coup attempt in Maracay, Venezuela, February 4, 2019.

"We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom", Trump is set to say, according to excerpts from his annual speech to Congress - where the opposition leader's envoy to Washington was among the top guests.

The group built on that backing in its final communique by calling upon "the National Armed Forces of Venezuela to demonstrate their loyalty to the Interim President in his constitutional functions as their Commander in Chief".

Guadio, head of Venezuela's National Assembly, last month declared himself to be the South American country's interim ruler.

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Maduro has clung to power with the support of Venezuela's highest-ranking military officers.

"The more it looks like an overt attack on the authority of Maduro, that makes the aid more of a target", said Konyndyk, who has led US government responses to worldwide disasters.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the worldwide community should help support Guaido by trying to block Maduro's government from foreign business transactions involving oil, gold and other assets. Why should the European Union be giving ultimatums to a country?,' he said in an interview with Spanish television broadcast late on Sunday.

Canada and its Latin American allies in the Lima Group, along with the United States, have been pushing for Maduro's departure.

The European support comes after Maduro did not meet their Sunday night deadline to call a new presidential election.

"The path to sanctions relief for PdVSA is through the expeditious transfer of control to the Interim President or a subsequent, democratically elected government", Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin said.

Russia, China and Turkey still back socialist Mr Maduro and have accused Western nations of meddling in Venezuela's internal affairs.

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