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U.S. Humanitarian Aid to Venezuela Sits Untouched in Colombia

Humanitarian aid sent by the U.S. government and intended for struggling Venezuelan residents sits idly in Colombia, a few miles away from the border of the very people who need it most.

An ABC News report said that the initial round of aid remained at the Tienditas Bridge crossing, on the Colombian side, while ousted Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro called the aid packages a “message to humiliate the people.”

Maduro called it a “show,” while Kevin Whitaker, the U.S. ambassador to Colombia, said, “We expect more to come,” for the Venezuelan people.

“This is a down payment. This is just the beginning. It’s important. It’s significant,” Whitaker told reporters near the Venezuela border.

As Venezuela remains in a struggle between Maduro and interim president Juan Guaido, the military sits at a crossroads of how it should react. Maduro said if the United States really wanted to help Venezuelans, then it should “stop the blockade, persecution and aggression against Venezuela,” and lift the $10 million worth of sanctions on his regime.

Meanwhile, as Maduro sent this message during a news conference, Guaidó told students at a Caracas university that collection centers would soon be open for the aid, which includes food for families of five and emergency medical supplies for hospitals.

As of Friday, Venezuelan forces kept their days-long blockade across the Tienditas Bridge. But Lester Toledo, a representative for Guaido, said the country will see that the aid reaches Venezuelans as intended by the United States.

“We know how we will bring it across, when we will bring it across and who will bring it across,” said Toledo, who even made a plea to the military, stating the aid was for them and their struggling families as well.

These food and supplies sit just miles for struggling Venezuelans, many of whom left their country now for refuge in other nations for a better life. Venezuela was once once one of the richest, most bustling countries in South America before the Maduro regime drove it into economic hardship.

According to the ABC News report, the aid sitting in Colombia waiting to get moved into Venezuela would help more than 10,000 malnourished children, and it would supplement school meals for another 10,000 children for a month. The aid also includes locally-purchased food and hygiene kits.

The report says more supplies for Venezuela sit in storage in both Houston and Miami.

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