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8 Feb, 2019 00:45

Time for talks ‘long passed’: US weaponizes aid amid push for regime change in Venezuela

Time for talks ‘long passed’: US weaponizes aid amid push for regime change in Venezuela

As trucks with US “humanitarian aid” arrived at the Colombia-Venezuela border, the State Department insisted that time for talks with the government in Caracas is long past, and the only acceptable outcome is regime change.

US President Donald Trump recognized opposition politician Juan Guaido as “legitimate president” of Venezuela last month. The State Department appointed neoconservative interventionist Elliott Abrams – who has a long and checkered past of meddling in Latin America – as its special envoy for freedom and democracy in Venezuela. On Thursday, Abrams told reporters at the State Department that Washington was not interested in any talks with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

“The time for dialogue with Maduro has long passed,” he said, asserting that Maduro would “manipulate” any negotiations to his advantage.

Meanwhile, the trucks loaded with US “humanitarian aid” intended for Guaido and his supporters have arrived at Cucuta, on the Colombia-Venezuela border. The Venezuelan military, which remains loyal to Maduro’s government, has blockaded the bridge on the other side, however.

Abrams said on Thursday that the US will not “force” the crossing of the convoy with aid. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however, demanded on Wednesday that Maduro “must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE” of Venezuela.

Listing all the reasons for US meddling in a Fox News interview, Pompeo said Iran and Hezbollah were present in Venezuela, the government in Caracas was a puppet of Cuba, and the US had an "obligation" to defend “American values” by supporting “duly elected” Guaido.

Also on rt.com Pompeo: America ‘obligated’ to fight ‘Hezbollah’ in Venezuela to save ‘duly elected’ Guaido

President Maduro, however, dismissed US aid as a “cheap show,” according to an interview published on Thursday in the Mexican newspaper La Jornada. He has accused the US of interfering in internal affairs of Venezuela by attempting to overthrow his legitimately elected government in favor of Guaido, who was never elected by anyone.

The government in Caracas has reasons to be skeptical of US humanitarian aid. In addition to it being earmarked solely for Guaido and his supporters – while Maduro and those loyal to him have been placed under strict US sanctions – the US has previously used the label “humanitarian aid” to deliver weapons and equipment to anti-government guerrillas in Latin America, and Abrams personally oversaw those operations back in the 1980s.

The UN has likewise expressed skepticism over Washington’s attempt to use humanitarian aid to effect regime change in Caracas.

“Humanitarian action needs to be independent of political, military or other objectives,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York on Wednesday. “What is important is that humanitarian aid be depoliticized and that the needs of the people should lead in terms of when and how humanitarian aid is used.”

Dujarric also called for “serious political negotiations” to resolve the crisis in Venezuela.

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