Self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido delivers a speech at the Central Universidy of Venezuela on Friday
Venezuela’s interim president Juan Guaido urged demonstrators to continue their fight against the socialist tyrant Nicolas Maduro in Caracas today.
Guaido told a packed 2,700-seat theatre at the Central University of Venezuela that Maduro’s days were numbered, as he clings to power.
Meanwhile, Maduro was left red-faced at a press conference in the Miraflores Palace, when the lights went out.
Maduro’s troops continue to block aid from the United States on the border with Colombia, with Maduro accusing President Donald Trump of treating his people like ‘beggars.’
Guaido has accused Maduro’s troops of being complicit in a crime against humanity by blocking food and medical care.
According to the Guardian, Guaido told students in Caracas: ‘They are already defeated,’ as he urged for more protests, following colossal demonstrations last weekend.
‘Today, our only enemy is despair. Today, our only enemy is doubt. Today, our only enemy is fear.’ Guaido said.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a press conference at Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas on Friday at which there was an embarrassing power cut
People attend a protest against Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro’s government – Guaido has won the support of more than 40 nations across the world
Maduro was left red-faced inside the plush walls of the Presidential palace as the lights went out on live state TV – prompting him to snap at his Electricity Minister
He told the cheering crowd: ‘We will keep going until we achieve our objective.’
Guadio is backed as the de facto leader by more than 40 nations, including the US and major European powers, who want Maduro to step down.
A day after the US aid convoy arrived in the border city of Cucuta, Maduro ridiculed the Americans for offering small amounts of assistance while maintaining sanctions that block some $10 billion of offshore assets and revenue.
Guaido warned military officers against blocking the arrival of aid amid spiralling disease and malnutrition brought on by a hyperinflationary collapse.
‘Take all that humanitarian aid and give it to the people of Cucuta, where there is a lot of need,’ Maduro said at his news conference.
‘This is a macabre game, you see? They squeeze us by the neck and then make us beg for crumbs.’
‘They offer us toilet paper, like Donald Trump threw at the people of Puerto Rico,’ he said at the conference, which experienced technical difficulties including a blackout and a microphone failure.
As darkness fell in the plush interior of the Miraflores Palace, Maduro queried his Electricity Minister.
Luis Motta Dominguez replied: ‘Let me check,’ Bloomberg reported.
Maduro snapped back: ‘You should already know.’
Venezuela’s dire situation has fuelled a political crisis that has peaked over the last month with Guaido invoking a constitutional provision to declare himself the legitimate, interim president.
The 35-year-old argues Maduro was re-elected last year in a sham vote and the country must hold new presidential elections.
‘I want to see how many military officers are willing to commit crimes against humanity by not allowing the lives of the most vulnerable to be saved, 250,000 to 300,000 are at risk of dying if they do not receive immediate attention,’ Guaido told the university students.
Trump last week issued sweeping sanctions against state oil company PDVSA, froze profits generated by refining subsidiary Citgo, and has vowed to starve Maduro’s government of all revenue.
Guaido kisses his wife Fabiana Rosales on stage at the Central University of Venezuela, in Caracas
Thousands poured onto the streets of Caracas last weekend in a stunning show of contempt for Maduro
Maduro said blocking the OPEC nation’s oil shipments would be economically and socially ‘catastrophic’ for the country, adding that anyone who accepted a nomination from Guaido to posts at PDVSA or Citgo would ‘face justice.’
European nations have been broadly critical of Maduro but have sought to strike a counterpoint to the aggressive US stance.
Maduro said he was willing to meet with envoys of the so-called International Contact Group, that is backed by the European Union, but said a statement from its first meeting on Thursday was partisan and ideological.
Critics say three previous rounds of dialogue have allowed the ruling Socialist Party to stall for time without making major concessions on key issues including imprisoned opposition politicians and electoral transparency.
Guaido has said the time for dialogue has passed.