The government would also hand out food to poor residents of Cucuta this weekend, he said in televised statements – a “cynical” move, according to opposition leader Juan Guaido, given shortages of food in Venezuela.

Guaido last month invoked constitutional provisions to assume the presidency, arguing Maduro was re-elected in a sham election, and has since been recognised as Venezuela’s legitimate leader by dozens of nations.

He said on Monday that the government’s statements would not alter the opposition’s plans to bring in aid from neighboring countries via land and sea on Saturday with the help of volunteers nationwide.

“This does not in the slightest change our plan to generate pressure, to ensure the arrival of the aid,” Guaido said at a news briefing. “If it doesn’t enter on the twenty-third, it will enter on the twenty-fourth, it will enter on the twenty-fifth” of February.

The opposition has urged the military, which remains loyal to Maduro, to let the aid in. Analysts say that would seriously undermine Maduro’s authority and could lead to his ouster.

In a speech late on Monday, US President Donald Trump warned members of Venezuela’s military who are helping Maduro to stay in power that they are risking their future and their lives and urged them to allow humanitarian aid into the country.

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