Maduro Goes After Richard Branson With Own Concert

Alex Vasquez and Jose Orozco
Maduro Goes After Richard Branson With Own Concert

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is planning an “immense” concert on the Colombian border to offset Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson’s proposed Live Aid-style event aimed at pressuring the government to let in humanitarian aid.

The concert organized by the Venezuelan government will take place this weekend on the Simon Bolivar bridge connecting the two countries, Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said. The government will provide medical attention and give away 20,000 packages through its food-delivery program.

“We have accepted a proposal from many Venezuelan artists who requested a cultural event, a massive concert for peace,” Rodriguez said on state television.

Meanwhile, Branson plans a line-up of international and regional artists for a concert on the Colombian side of the border. His goal is to raise $100 million and “re-open Venezuela’s borders so that humanitarian aid can finally reach those millions who need it the most,” Branson said. The Caribbean nation is suffering from years of mismanagement, a collapsing economy and wide-spread hunger that’s prompted millions to flee.

The U.S. is storing food and medical supplies in the Colombian border town of Cucuta ahead of National Assembly leader Juan Guaido’s Feb. 23 deadline for the Venezuelan military to allow humanitarian aid to enter. Maduro has ordered his security forces to block those supplies, describing them as a “show."

To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Vasquez in Caracas Office at avasquez45@bloomberg.net;Jose Orozco in Mexico City at jorozco8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Cancel at dcancel@bloomberg.net, Matthew Malinowski, Patricia Laya

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