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Help, the helpers are coming!

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23.02.2019

Let's first avoid any misunderstanding: Venezuela's population is without question in urgent need of aid. More and more people there are struggling just to exist; the supply chain of food and medicines has collapsed.

This makes it all the more appalling the way the interim president, Juan Guaido, and his supporters are abusing the provision of humanitarian aid as an instrument of power. Guaido may gain good TV publicity by being shown amidst packages of baby food, but it does not give him any political credibility.

Read more: Turkey and Venezuela: The rise of a new alliance?

Covering up political failure

Nicolas Maduro, who wields the power in Venezuela, is no more credible. Maduro, the successor to President Hugo Chavez who died in 2013, has systematically mismanaged the country. He has his political opponents arrested, has disempowered the parliament, which has been dominated by the opposition since 2015, and left the people to fend for themselves.

Both sides are now looking to use humanitarian aid to make up for political failure. For the sanctions that have been imposed on the Maduro regime by the US since 2015 have so far not led to the desired "success," i.e., the collapse of the "socialism of the 21st century."

Read more: How long can Maduro hold on?

Seeking refuge in Moscow's arms

Rather, they have led to the virtual collapse of Venezuela and pushed Maduro further and further toward Moscow and Beijing. Even though Maduro last week was still claiming that there was no hunger in Venezuela, he announced ahead of the showdown in Cucuta on February 23 that he was expecting a delivery of 300 tonnes (330 US tons) of aid supplies from Russia. Guaido is set to arrive at the border on Saturday to help volunteers transport tonnes of aid supplies into the crisis-ridden country.

DW's Astrid Prange

Russia is currently Venezuela's most important ally. Even while Hugo Chavez was president, the Kremlin delivered arms to the Venezuelan army. Caracas is also........

© Deutsche Welle