Venezuela opposition leader issues ‘direct order’ over aid

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Guaidó lays down challenge to military to allow convoys to enter country on February 23

Gideon Long in Caracas

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó threw down a new challenge to President Nicolás Maduro and the armed forces on Tuesday, saying humanitarian aid would enter the country on February 23 whether they liked it or not.

Addressing tens of thousands of supporters at a rally in Caracas, Mr Guaidó said he was issuing a “direct order” to the military to let aid convoys through from neighbouring Colombia and Brazil. He added 300,000 people risk death from starvation and disease because of dire shortages of food and medicine.

“February 23 will be the day for humanitarian aid to enter Venezuela,” he said, in a bold ultimatum backed by a hope that he and his allies can cajole the military into abandoning the government over the next 10 days.