US emergency aid for Venezuela arrives at Colombian border

CUCUTA, Colombia — Trucks carrying U.S. humanitarian aid destined for Venezuela arrived Thursday at the Colombian border, where opposition leaders vowed to bring them into their troubled nation despite objections from embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

Two semi-trailers loaded with boxed emergency food and medicine rolled into the Colombian border city of Cucuta, which is just across the river from Venezuela.

“The United States is prepositioning relief items — including food, nutritional supplements, hygiene kits and medical supplies — in Colombia so they are available to reach those most in need in Venezuela, as soon as possible,” said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue. The focus of Venezuela’s political fight now hinges on whether Maduro will allow the aid to enter the country, a move anticipated in coming days.

Maduro denies a humanitarian crisis exists and says Venezuela is not a country of beggars. The Venezuelan military has barricaded a bridge between the two nations with a tanker and two cargo trailers in an apparent attempt to block the aid.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who requested the international assistance, said it is necessary in a country racked by shortages of basic goods.

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