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Venezuela's Maduro vows to block 'fake' aid 'spectacle'

AFP  |  Caracas 

Venezuelan vowed on Friday not to let in "fake" aid from the requested by Juan Guaido, which is being stockpiled at the border with

"won't allow the spectacle of fake humanitarian aid because we're no-one's beggars," Maduro said at a press conference in

He also hit out at European and Latin American ministers who called on Thursday for a new presidential ballot.

Meeting in Uruguay's capital Montevideo, the had urged "free, transparent and credible presidential elections" in crisis-wracked "as soon as possible" to find a to the power struggle between Maduro and Guaido.

Under Maduro's guidance, has descended into economic crisis marked by hyperinflation, recession and shortages of basic necessities including and medicine.

Guaido has claimed 300,000 people could die if Maduro doesn't allow the humanitarian aid to enter.

Over the border, Venezuelan troops are blocking the road that trucks carrying the aid would have to travel on.

Bringing in aid is central to Guaido's challenge to Maduro's authority.

Guaido caused shock waves in Venezuelan on January 23 when he declared himself acting president, a move quickly backed by the US and subsequently around 40

Speaking on Friday, Maduro said Venezuela's humanitarian crisis has been "fabricated by Washington" to justify "intervention" in the South American country.

He blamed shortages of and medicine on US sanctions, which mostly target regime individuals as well as company

"Liberate the money that has been blocked and sequestered," said Maduro.

"This is a macabre game: we squeeze them by the neck and make them ask for crumbs." He said the aid offer was "a message of humiliation for the people." Earlier on Wednesday morning, a Venezuelan military boat carrying 100 tons (tonnes) of aid landed in was recently hit by a tornado.

Turning his ire on the Contact Group, Maduro aimed a message at the

"You don't listen to the truth in Venezuela. You're deaf... They've taken extremist positions," he said.

The Contact Group had urged Maduro to allow in aid and said it would send a mission to Venezuela to discuss how to "establish the necessary guarantees for a credible electoral process, as soon as possible." The group, which says it includes with a "neutral" perspective on the Venezuela crisis, chided Maduro over the deaths of 40 opposition protesters last month.

It also told the to "restore full democracy, the rule of law, the separation of powers and respect for the constitutional mandate of the country's institutions, particularly the democratically elected " The opposition-controlled legislature has been powerless since 2016 after it was stripped of its powers by the Supreme Court, made up of regime loyalists.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 08 2019. 23:40 IST