The Red Cross Federation announced this afternoon that the conditions now exist for it to help deliver and distribute humanitarian aid to as many as 650,000 Venezuelans, possibly within the next two weeks.
The announcement was made during a press by Red Cross Federation president Francesco Rocca, who said that the move was made possibly thanks to a landmark agreement between president Maduro and interim president Juan Guaido.
Rocca explained that the Red Cross could only agree to deliver and distribute the aid if it was able to adhere to its principles of “impartiality, neutrality and independence”, and if it would go about its work “without accepting interference from anyone”.
We estimate that within approximately 15 days we will be able to deliver the aid (…) we hope to help 650,000 people at that time.
While details on the humanitarian relief operation are not yet clear, it is likely that the aid to be delivered will be that which has been warehoused in Brazil, Colombia and Curacao since last month. The opposition attempted to deliver some of that aid into Venezuela on February 23 with disastrous results as the Maduro regime refused to allow the aid to enter the country.
Rocca said that the Venezuelan relief effort would be an “operation very similar to what is happening in Syria”, and continued by saying:
It obviously will not and cannot solve the country’s problems, but it’s a necessary step to save lives.
According to the New York Times:
The Red Cross was granted the permission after personal meetings with Mr. Maduro and Mr. Guaidó, said a person involved in negotiations, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss confidential talks.
Aid Agreement Likely Involvement Compromise from Both Sides
The agreement between Maduro and Guaido likely involved both sides making compromises.
On the regime’s part, accepting the aid constitutes a reversal of years of assurances that there is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, and that Venezuelans do not need or want aid. This past February 12, Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza told the United Nations that there is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, while Maduro repeated at around the same time that Venezuelans would not accept aid because they “are not beggars”.
On the other side of the aisle, allowing the Red Cross to deliver and distribute the aid strips the opposition for the opportunity to do so itself, which was what it attempted to do on February 23 as a kind of public relations assault against the regime.
The agreement is arguably the most positive news to come out of Venezuela in recent memory.
Nationwide Blackout Strikes for Second Time This Week
Virtually all of Venezuela is in darkness for the second time this week.
According to Netblocks, as much as 90% of the country lost electric power starting at around 7:10 PM Caracas time:
The last time that most of the country lost power was just this past March 25.
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