Brazil vowed on Tuesday to defy Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro and deliver humanitarian aid to the country, which Maduro has deployed his military to prevent.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Brazilian Foreign Ministry spokesman Otavio de Rego Barros confirmed that the Bolsonaro administration is coordinating with interim President Juan Guaidó to overcome the Maduro regime’s military blockade on food and medicine for the Venezuelan people.
“The Brazilian government is mobilizing an inter-ministerial taskforce to define the logistics of supplying humanitarian aid to the people of Venezuela from February 23,” said Barros. “The aid, which includes food and medicine, will be made available in Brazilian territory for collection by the government of interim president Juan Guaidó, with Venezuelan trucks driven by Venezuelans. ”
“Brazil is taking part in this important international initiative to support the Guaidó government and the Venezuelan people,” he continued.
Brazil is joining a wider international effort to deliver humanitarian into Venezuela in face of efforts by the Maduro regime to block its entry. So far, aid missions sent by the United States and other regional contributors have been unable to access people within Venezuela, instead distributing the aid in towns on the Colombian and Brazilian borders.
Responding to the announcement, Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino warned that the Venezuelan military would follow Maduro’s orders and secure the border to prevent its entry.
“The armed forces will remain deployed and on alert along the borders to avoid any violations of territorial integrity,” Padrino said in a televised statement alongside other senior military officials.”We reiterate unrestrictedly our obedience, subordination, and loyalty to President Nicolas Maduro.”
While Maduro no longer remains legitimate head of state in the country, the nation’s top military brass have refused to recognize Guaidó as their commander-in-chief.
Over recent weeks, Guaidó and others in the opposition have demanded the regime allow the entry of aid to help alleviate the pressure of ongoing humanitarian crisis, pleading with the military rank-and-file to disobey orders and stop blocking its entry. The requests have failed as military personnel continues to block its entry, placing tankers on the Tiendias International Bridge to stop the passing through of vehicles.
The opposition has now come up with alternative solutions, mobilizing thousands of volunteers to help carry the aid, mainly comprising of food and medicine, into the country. The first effort of this type took place last week, as volunteers successfully delivered 1.7 million portions of food for pregnant mothers and children suffering malnourishment.