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Guaido calls for Venezuela rallies

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE Feb 18, 2019
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Saturday called for rallies next week to back volunteers heading to the border with Colombia to bring in US humanitarian aid - the latest flashpoint in the country's political crisis. "Not only will this be happening at the border where the volunteer movement will be but in cities up and down the country where there will be demonstrations on February 23 for the aid to come in," Guaido told thousands of supporters in Caracas. His call came as aid was piling up along the border. It has been denounced by President Nicolas Maduro, who has asked the military to reinforce the frontier, seeing the aid as a "booby trap" and a cover for a US military invasion. Guaido said some 600,000 people have registered to help with the aid as he repeated a call for the military to stand aside. Venezuela is in the midst of a power struggle between socialist leader Maduro and Guaido, the head of the National Assembly who proclaimed himself interim president last month amid an economic crisis that has left millions in poverty. Maduro, successor to socialist firebrand Hugo Chavez, said earlier that six million families had benefited from subsidized food boxes and also claimed more than 900 tonnes of medicines and medical supplies had arrived from China, Cuba and Russia. He claims Guaido is a puppet of the United States, which wants Venezuela's gold and oil reserves - the world's largest.


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