Juan Guaido, who is recognized by some 50 countries as Venezuela’s interim president, warned the military Sunday that blocking humanitarian aid from entering the country is a “crime against humanity.”
The opposition leader’s warning comes as international aid has taken center stage in a power struggle between Guaido and President Nicolas Maduro in which Venezuela’s military is viewed as the pivotal player.
Medicine and food sent by the United States have been blocked for three days on the border with Colombia after the Venezuelan military shut down a bridge connecting the two South American countries.
On the Venezuelan side of the border, dozens of doctors protested Sunday, demanding that aid vehicles allowed to cross, including surgeon Jose Luis Mateus de la Riva, who accused Maduro of taking Venezuela back to the “medieval era.”
“There are people responsible for this and the regime should know it,” Guaido said after attending Sunday mass with his wife and 20-month-old baby. “This a crime against humanity, men of the armed forces.”
Accusing those blocking aid of being “almost genocidal,” he warned that the military would be held responsible for the deaths of protesters – and reiterated his call for a mass march on Tuesday in memory of the estimated 40 people killed in unrest since January 21.
Guaido has offered amnesty for any members of the armed forces who disavows Maduro. However, the military leadership still publicly supports the president.
– with reporting by Agence France-Presse