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Rubio Predicts Maduro’s Troops Won’t Block Humanitarian Aid

Senator Marco Rubio visits the Colombia-Venezuela border at the Simon Bolivar International Bridge on the outskirts of Cucuta, Colombia, February 17, 2019. (Edgard Garrido/REUTERS)

Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) said Wednesday that Venezuelan troops have already begun to disobey orders and will likely refuse to block the thousands of volunteers who plan to escort a humanitarian-aid caravan across the country’s border on Saturday.

“Saturday’s a day when we’re going to find a lot about the Maduro regime,” Rubio told Bloomberg in a telephone interview. “I have reason to believe that rank-and-file military are not going to violently suppress aid workers.”

Opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who is officially recognized as the president of Venezuela by the Trump administration and 30 other nations, has urged the military to defect and refuse Maduro’s orders to block aid shipments at the border.

“There’s already significant resistance” by rank-and-file troops, causing military leaders to doubt “whether the people under their command are going to do what they’re asking them to do,” Rubio said.

More than 600,000 Venezuelans have preemptively signed up to escort large shipments of much-needed food and medicine across the country’s border with Colombia, according to Guaidó, who vowed the aid will enter the country “one way or another.”

The supplies have been accumulating at the border due to the Maduro regime’s refusal to accept foreign aid intended to ease starvation and sickness. Maduro has repeatedly cast the foreign-aid efforts as a “political show,” designed to serve as a pretext for invasion.

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