US Military Aircraft to Deliver 250 Tons of Aid to Venezuela Border

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USA officials have not denied Maduro's claim of talks.

Speaking in Miami as humanitarian aid remained stalled at the Venezuelan border, Trump decried President Nicolas Maduro as a "Cuban puppet" and warned officials who have helped keep him in power that "the eyes of the entire world are upon you".

Trump has shown support to Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó after outcries over Nicolas Maduro's newest term as President.

Trump said the "profoundly grateful" to dissidents and exiles who have protested and raised alarms about the actions of the Maduro government.

On Friday, the USA imposed new sanctions on five officials in Maduro's circle, including his intelligence chief and first commissioner, the head of the military's counter-intelligence agency, the head of the national police's special for es and the head of Venezuela's state-owner oil company PDVSA.

Guaido has called on Venezuelans to take to the streets in a bid to oust Maduro from power through popular pressure and said in videotaped remarks delivered to Venezuelan expatriates in Miami that the country is now facing a choice between "democracy and dictatorship - one between life and death".

Meanwhile, the Pentagon spokesperson told Sputnik on Friday the DoD would soon reveal details on new humanitarian assistance to Venezuela and U.S. military logistic support for its delivery to the crisis-torn country.

The hawkish former Republican diplomat was a major voice pushing for the ouster of Manuel Noriega in Panama in the 1980s and also was convicted for withholding information from the U.S. Congress during the infamous Iran-Contra affair.

Maduro, the hand-picked successor to socialist firebrand Hugo Chavez, meanwhile blames Venezuela's woes on United States sanctions.

Hotel fire: Closed emergency exit doors to blame
But the building appeared to have six floors, including a basement and a kitchen built on top of the roof, Jain said. The cause of the fire is yet to be known, though officials suspect a short circuit might have triggered it.

"Socialism is dying and liberty, prosperity and democracy are being reborn" throughout the hemisphere, Trump said, expressing hope that soon, "This will become the first free hemisphere in all of human history".

Some USAID shipments have already arrived in Colombia, where they sit waiting for refugees who cross the border from Venezuela.

When they met again this week, the atmosphere was less tense, even though the February 11 encounter came four days after Abrams said the "time for dialogue with Maduro had long passed". The city is the staging point for foreign humanitarian aid - much of it from the USA government - that is being blocked from entering Venezuela by Maduro's socialist administration.

So far, Maduro isn't budging. Still, the Venezuelans saw the meetings as a sign there is room for discussion with the Americans despite the tough public rhetoric coming from Washington.

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Maduro said Venezuela is ready to make an economic rebound once Trump removes his "infected hand" from the country that sits atop the world's largest petroleum reserves.

He said USA sanctions on the oil industry are to blame for mounting hardships even though shortages and hyperinflation that economists say topped 1 million per cent long predates Trump's recent action.

While he said the USA is keeping all options on the table, Bolton added there would be "no effort to use military force to deliver the humanitarian assistance" that the Venezuelan government has refused to allow into the country.

The sanctions effectively ban all oil purchases by the USA, which had been Venezuela's biggest oil buyer until now.

Maduro responded to Trump in comments broadcast on state television. He said so many had volunteered to perform that it has to be held over two days.