Venezuelan opposition banking on protests, military backing

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Thousands of opposition activists headed out into the streets of Venezuela on Tuesday to demand the military allow in desperately-needed aid, with President Nicolas Maduro's supporters due to rally against "imperialist intervention".

Venezuela's self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido gives the thumb up as he gets into a vehicle after a meeting with university students at the Central University of Venezuela, in Caracas, Venezuela, February 8, 2019.

In their attempts to block the entry of aid, Venezuelan soldiers positioned tankers on the Tienditas worldwide bridge connecting Venezuela with Colombia, making it impossible for supplies to reach those within the country: Dr. Jose Luis Mateo, a member of the NGO United Doctors, told Efecto Cocuyo, a local opposition outlet, that the Maduro regime is blocking the entry of aid so they can continue to exercise control over the most vulnerable.

Guaido denounces Maduro's presidency as illegitimate while Maduro says a U.S-backed coup seeks to oust him.

Food, medicine and hygiene products sent by the United States are stuck in the Colombian border city of Cucuta after Venezuela blocked the Tienditas border bridge. Many painted their faces with the colors of the Venezuelan flag and draped flags over their shoulders.

"Put yourselves on the side of the constitution, but also on the side of humanity", Guaido said, in a message directed at the military.

Juan Carlos Bolivar said he wanted the government out, adding that his 49-year old sister had uterine cancer and had not been treated for six months because of a lack of medicine.

Asked whether he would return Venezuela's embassy to Jerusalem, where it sat until 1980, Guaido answered: "That is one of the issues we are discussing. Humanitarian aid! Why? Because our patients are dying!" the protesters chanted.

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Humanitarian groups estimate that millions of Venezuelans have left the country to escape the misery in the country because of the political and economic crises.

He said: 'I know we have problems.

He is trying to force the socialist leader from power so he can set up a transitional government and hold new presidential elections. "We're against the invasion the gringos want to launch here", said Marcos Velasquez, a 32-year-old Food Ministry employee.

"I'll be on the streets until this is over", said Cecilia Navarrete, 50, at his rally on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Venezuelan exiled veteran opposition figure and former mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma wears an Order Medal Of Cruzeiro Do Sul after receiving it form Brazil's Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes Ferreira (not pictured), at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia, Brazil April 27, 2018. She said most young people from Urena had emigrated to escape the crisis.

But the military has barricaded a border bridge linking the countries, with Maduro describing the aid as a "political show" and a pretext to a United States intervention.

Maduro's adversaries say he has run roughshod over democratic institutions and ravaged the nation's economy through nationalizations and a corruption-riddled exchange control system.

"The economic war [from the U.S.] is asphyxiating the country, causing much suffering amongst the most vulnerable", de Zayas said in a recent interview with L'Anti Diplomatico.

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