Fri. 3:19 p.m.: Volunteers ready US emergency aid to be sent into Venezuela

CUCUTA, Colombia (AP) — U.S. humanitarian aid destined for Venezuela was being prepared at a warehouse on the Colombian border Friday, as opposition leader Juan Guaido assured his desperate countrymen that supplies would reach them despite objections from embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

The goods, including packaged corn, flour, lentils and cans of tuna, arrived a day earlier at the Colombian border city of Cucuta, just across the river from Venezuela. On Friday, volunteers were busily filling white sacks with the items from boxes marked with the words “USAID.”

“It is already a fact that humanitarian aid will arrive and will be reaching the most vulnerable,” Guaido said in a videotaped statement — giving no firm timeline or plan for how it will cross.

The emergency supplies have become the focus of Venezuela’s political struggle between Maduro and Guaido, who declared presidential powers in late January, accusing Maduro of being illegitimate following an election last year widely viewed as a sham.

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