Pompeo demands that Venezuela let in US aid

Venezuelan soldiers using containers to block the Tienditas Bridge, which links Tachira, Venezuela, and Cucuta, Colombia, on February 6, 2019 (AFP Photo/Raul Arboleda)

Washington (AFP) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday demanded that Venezuela's military let in US-backed humanitarian aid, which President Nicolas Maduro has alleged is a cover for invasion.

"The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid. The US and other countries are trying to help, but Venezuela's military under Maduro's orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers," Pompeo tweeted.

"The Maduro regime must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE," Pompeo wrote, using capital letters for emphasis.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has been recognized as interim president by the United States and major Latin American and European countries -- has been seeking to bring in assistance coordinated by Washington with Brazil and Colombia.

Mark Green, the director of the US Agency for International Development, said that truckloads of aid were waiting in Colombia as the United States "prepositions relief items intended for the people of Venezuela."

"At the request of (Guaido), we are working to deliver to Venezuelans as soon as possible," Green tweeted.

But Venezuelan military officers used containers and trucks to block a bridge on the Colombian border, with Maduro insisting that "no one will enter, not one invading soldier."

US President Donald Trump has not ruled out a military intervention in Venezuela, where Maduro's leftist regime presides over a crumbling economy that has sent millions fleeing to neighboring countries.