Venezuela's opposition supporters returned to the streets nationwide today to keep the heat on embattled President Nicolas Maduro and demand he allow humanitarian aid into the country where food and medicine shortages are rife.
The US State Department announced in January that Washington had frozen $7 billion in assets belonging to PDVSA in order to make some of the money available to Venezuela's self-proclaimed acting president, Juan Guaido.
Venezuela's government has blocked the aid the United States sent to the country's border with Colombia. Many painted their faces with the colors of the Venezuelan flag and draped flags over their shoulders.
While resisting overwhelming Western pressure, Maduro has consistently said he believes in "dialogue and mutual understanding" between all Venezuelans.
Guaido said he's mobilizing caravans of Venezuelans to deliver the humanitarian aid across the Colombian border on February 23, a month after he declared himself the interim president and called for Maduro to step down.
The comptroller general said that according to the country's constitution, members of the National Assembly can not "receive any type of payment from other public or private job", and they "cannot be owners, administrators or directors of companies that contract with legal entities".
Juan Carlos Bolivar said he wanted the government out, adding that his 49-year old sister had uterine cancer and had not been treated for six months because of a lack of medicine.
Thousands of opposition demonstrators began gathering early Tuesday in the capital of Caracas.
"We have brought her home because the hospitals are collapsed".
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Maduro called the American sanctions the reason behind Venezuela's economic problems that in this way the U.S. "has meant to create a humanitarian crisis in order to justify a military intervention".
"We all want peace for Venezuela and for the drums of war to go away", he told a crowd that included many public employees, some holding "Defend the Country" banners.
Maduro has refused to assistance, saying it's part of a Trump administration coup aimed at exploiting Venezuela's vast oil resources.
He is trying to force the socialist leader from power so he can set up a transitional government and hold new presidential elections.
"I'll be on the streets until this is over", said Cecilia Navarrete, 50, at his rally on Tuesday.
But in a worrying development a brigade of Venezuela's feared FAES para-military police - that has been blamed for the summary execution of more than 150 anti-government protesters - were spotted arriving at a military airport close to the Colombian border.
Some 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2015, according to the United Nations.
Last week, the U.N. warned against politicizing aid in Venezuela after the United States accused Maduro of blocking the delivery of food and medicine.
"The economic war [from the U.S.] is asphyxiating the country, causing much suffering amongst the most vulnerable", de Zayas said in a recent interview with L'Anti Diplomatico.