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Guaido says 'regime has run out of rhetoric' as Red Cross aid arrives in Venezuela

File photo of Venezuela's Juan Guaido Photograph:( AFP )

Reuters Caracas, Capital District, Venezuela Apr 17, 2019, 09.26 AM (IST)

Opposition leader Juan Guaido hailed a victory as the first shipment of humanitarian aid from the Red Cross arrived in the once-prosperous, oil-rich country on Tuesday.

The delivery came after an about-face by President Nicolas Maduro, who last week said his socialist government had reached an agreement with the Red Cross to bring aid. Maduro had blocked previous efforts to deliver assistance and has denied the existence of a humanitarian crisis.

There was little hope that the shipment - intended to help hospitals cope with shortages of equipment and frequent power outages - would be anything more than a palliative measure for Venezuela, where over three million people have fled the chaos of hyperinflation and chronic shortages of food and medicine.

Venezuela was plunged into a political deadlock in January, when Juan Guaido, the leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly invoked the country's constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing Maduro's 2018 re-election was illegitimate.

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The delivery came after an about-face by President Nicolas Maduro, who last week said his socialist government had reached an agreement with the Red Cross to bring aid. Maduro had blocked previous efforts to deliver assistance and has denied the existence of a humanitarian crisis.