Volunteers ready United States aid set for Venezuela as Maduro digs in

Miraflores Presidential Press Office Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro flashes a V for Victory hand gesture after arriving at the Fort Tiuna military base in Caracas Venezuela Wednesday Jan. 30 2019

Miraflores Presidential Press Office Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro flashes a V for Victory hand gesture after arriving at the Fort Tiuna military base in Caracas Venezuela Wednesday Jan. 30 2019

But any aid shipments will need the cooperation of the powerful military which despite a few defections remains loyal to Maduro and is still seen as key to the outcome of the country's power struggle.

But the World Food Programme, which provides emergency aid to countries in crisis and conflict is not operating in Venezuela at the moment.

He said: "Military action is something that's on the table and is an option".

He also denounced a meeting in Montevideo of ministers from more than a dozen European and Latin American countries who are seeking a mediated path to end Venezuela's standoff.

Opposition leader Jose Manuel Olivares, who is in Cucuta helping coordinate the aid mission, said the idea floated by Toledo to use a mass mobilization of people to get the aid across the border is one of the strategies being considered.

The vehicles, loaded with food and medical supplies, were seen pulling into a collection centre on the Colombian side of the Tienditas border bridge, which is blocked by Venezuelan troops.

More defiantly, the socialist president contends that the aid is part of a USA -led coup against him, with a goal to colonize Venezuela and exploit its vast oil resources. The Trump administration offered Guaido's interim presidency an initial $20 million in support and Guaido says the aid will come in through neighboring Colombia, Brazil and as yet unidentified Caribbean islands.

CNN reported that Guaido "is begging the military to let the goods enter the country, but President Nicolas Maduro [is] having none of it, insisting 'we are not beggars, '" and refusing to accept the charity.

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Guaido recently downplayed the need for USA intervention in Venezuela during an interview with VOA in which he said, "We will as a sovereign Venezuelan people do what is necessary to achieve stability in our country".

Humanitarian organizations have warned that attempting to force the aid into the country would be risky, and a top US official on Thursday said Washington did not plan to do so.

White House National Security Adviser John Bolton first raised alarm about deploying USA forces to the region when he carried a notepad with a handwritten notation saying "5,000 troops to Colombia" during a news briefing about Venezuela oil sanctions. But analysts caution a USA intervention in Venezuela, which is twice the size of Iraq and densely populated, could require a significant and sustained US military commitment to succeed. Around 800,000 Venezuelans are said to have crossed the border and settled in Colombia.

However military intervention opponents point out the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela does not pose a direct security threat to the United States.

"The military sector needs face-to-face negotiations" with specific officials, "an worldwide guarantor and probably a pardon being enshrined in the constitution", he said.

"It's a awful scenario because it does not solve the problem and makes the situation in the country worse", said Leon.

Trucks loaded with humanitarian aid for Venezuela arrive at Cucuta border on February 7, 2018.

Venezuela, already crippled by Maduro's economic policies, was plunged in political turmoil previous year when he greatly reduced the power of the opposition-controlled National Assembly and created a parallel parliament that gave more control to regions of the country where he is more popular.

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