Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday humanitarian aid “is going to get through” to Venezuela with or without the cooperation of Nicolas Maduro.
“The aid is going to get through,” the Florida senator told CNN’s Ana Cabrera on “Newsroom.” “I think ultimately the question is whether it gets through in a way that he’s cooperative with or in a way that he’s not.”
Rubio arrived Sunday at the Colombia-Venezuela border in Cucuta, Colombia, to meet with US officials and members of Venezuela’s National Assembly.
On Saturday, a wave of US aid arrived at the border, which included locally purchased food kits, hygiene kits, medical supplies, ready-to-use supplementary foods and high-energy biscuits, according to USAID.
Maduro has resisted international aid coming into the country, saying, “We are not beggars.” Maduro has also blocked a bridge between Colombia and Venezuela where aid was set to arrive.
Since Maduro was sworn in for a second term in January, several neighboring countries, European nations, and the United States have all said they will not recognize his presidency. The US has upped sanctions on Venezuela and announced the US government would recognize head of the National Assembly Juan Guaidó as the country’s leader.
“There’s no way you’re going to stand, ultimately, in the way of a people whose children are starving to death, whose families are dying in hospitals because of preventable diseases,” Rubio told Cabrera. He said the top priority is to get food and medicine to people who are dying “because the regime and the dictator does not allow humanitarian aid to reach them.”
“It is a crime against humanity to deny food and medicine to unarmed and innocent civilians,” Rubio told Cabrera. Earlier in the day he described the situation in Venezuela as “a man-made crisis of epic proportions.”
“American, Colombian and Venezuelan officials stand ready to provide much needed humanitarian assistance to the people of Venezuela,” Rubio said earlier Sunday in a statement. “The people of Venezuela remain resilient in their continued fight for democracy and freedom, and the United States will continue to stand with them.”
Within Venezuela, several protests have broken out in the streets calling for Maduro to accept the shipments of humanitarian aid to the country.
Rubio told Cabrera “no matter how long this takes,” the US and the international community are standing with the people of Venezuela, “until freedom is restored in Venezuela.”
CNN’s Radina Gigova contributed to this report.