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Franklin Graham, chief executive of relief group Samaritan's Purse and the son of renowned Christian evangelist Billy Graham, said until humanitarian groups had access inside Venezuela, most aid likely would remain outside.

The so-called Lima Group includes more than a dozen Western Hemisphere nations.

Trudeau also announced $53 million worth of humanitarian assistance Monday for the "most-pressing needs" of Venezuelans, including the nearly 3 million refugees. Mr. Trudeau said the bulk of the funding will go to "trusted" organizations on the ground in Venezuela and neighbouring countries to help support them as they handle the influx of refugees. "I'm pleased to inform the Venezuelan people that this transaction has until now been halted, protecting the resources of all Venezuelans", Paparoni said.

They also called on the armed forces "not to impede entry and transit of humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans".

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido arrives to attend a meeting with representatives of FEDEAGRO, the Confederation of Associations of Agricultural Producers of Venezuela, in Caracas, Venezuela February 6, 2019.

Maduro broke off diplomatic ties with the United States after Trump recognized Guaido.

The Foreign Ministry said that on January 26 2019, the European Union, including Bulgaria, called for the urgent holding of free, transparent and fair presidential elections in Venezuela.

USA officials say the United States sent food and medicine to Colombia's border with Venezuela, though it is still unclear how the aid will get through over the objections of President Nicolas Maduro, who has blocked shipments in the past.

In a declaration, the group urged the Venezuelan military to support Guaidó.

Freeland smiled and remarked that protesting was a right guaranteed by the constitution in Canada, one that "I am sad to say political protesters in Venezuela do not (have)".

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Pompeo tweeted Wednesday that the United States and other countries are sending emergency food and medicine to help desperate Venezuelans.

Shipments were also coming from Venezuelan companies overseas, Colombia, Canada and Germany.

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, U.S. President Donald Trump ratcheted up pressure on the embattled Maduro government, saying that the U.S. stands with the people of Venezuela in their "noble quest for freedom".

Alan Duncan, Britain's minister for the Americas and Europe, said Maduro's "mismanagement and kleptocratic approach" are singularly responsible for crippling his country's economy.

The Canadian PressVenezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gives a press conference at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on January 25, 2019.

On Saturday, an air-force general defected to the opposition and reportedly fled to Colombia.

Maduro has blamed the United States for manufacturing a military coup against his country.

Guaido accused Maduro's government of trying to move up to 1.2 billion US dollars from the state development bank Bandes to a financial entity in Uruguay, but did not present evidence.

Guaido branded Maduro illegitimate over his reelection in May, which the opposition boycotted after several of its leaders were either jailed, barred or forced into exile. "Ex-president Maduro does not have a mandate any more", said Denis Fontes de Souza Pinto, Brazil's ambassador to Canada.


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