Donald Trump decries socialism during South Florida speech

Arturo Kim
February 19, 2019

Rodriguez did not announce the artists who are expected to perform, saying only that the concert would be massive.

Maduro has been using the military, which remains loyal, to help him block the aid from entering Venezuela, describing it as "crumbs" from a United States government whose restrictions have stripped his administration of control over many of its most valuable assets.

Failing to deliver data since 2016 and facing pressure from overseas, Venezuela's central bank sent key economic data to the International Monetary Fund in November hoping to avoid sanctions that included the loss of voting rights or a potential expulsion from the lender.

More than two million Venezuelans have fled the country in the last two years, most flooding across the border into Colombia, Brazil and Peru.

"They shut down free markets, suppressed free speech, rigged elections and destroyed the impartial rule of law", he said to loud applause. The plan is to raise donations from viewers watching the concert on a livestream over the Internet.

The U.S. sanctions limit U.S. refiners to paying for Venezuelan oil by using escrow accounts that can not be accessed by Maduro's government.

Even though the artists' line-up has yet to be confirmed, Branson's "beautiful concert to bring global attention to this unacceptable and preventable crisis", promises to bring to the stage some of the music industry's biggest names, many Colombian, such as Shakira, Maluma, Juanes and Carlos Vives.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Saturday that the U.S. used military aircraft to send aid to the Venezuelan border in Colombia because of the urgency of the humanitarian needs.

The aircraft used could be C-17 Globemasters, used to move cargo and troops, the official said, but he did not know how many would be used to deliver the aid.

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"We must take advantage of this opportunity", he said. "And we're hoping that sense prevails and that the military allows the bridge to be open so that much-needed supplies can be sent across".

Trump says he is asking every member of the Maduro regime to end this "nightmare" of poverty and death.

Trump urged Venezuela's military to allow humanitarian supplies across the border on February 23.

Yet like a previous delivery of US aid a week ago, the vitally-needed supplies - food, medical supplies, hygiene kits, nutritional products and more - remain in limbo on the Colombia-Venezuela border, blocked from entry into the country by embattled President Nicolas Maduro, who is struggling to maintain power against growing opposition inside and outside of the South American nation.

It was unclear whether any of the US aid being ferried to Colombia would reach Venezuelans.

Nebenzia says Maduro's socialist government can always ask the United Nations for humanitarian aid.

"I talked to Juan Guaido, and the team, the people around him, to see what could be most helpful", Branson said. They target the country's state-owned oil company PDVSA, and five officials "in charge of Maduro's security and intelligence apparatus, which has systematically violated human rights and suppressed democracy, including through torture and other brutal use of force", in the words of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Wood said Maduro's government would go to any length to lie and deny reality.

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