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Why Venezuelans face the tough choice of having enough to eat or backing their President

A Venezuelan youth pauses from searching through a trash bin in La Parada, on the outskirts of Cucuta, Colombia. Credit: AP

For Venezuela’s destitute masses, help is agonisingly close at hand and out of reach.

Enough medicine and food to save hundreds of thousands of lives is being stockpiled in neighbouring Colombia, says the opposition.

This has become just the latest front in the battle between the government of Nicolas Maduro, and the US led coalition intent in bringing him down.

For the hitherto loyal Venezuelan military to allow the convoys of US supplies over the border would be to effectively side with Donald Trump.

Venezuela military uses shipping containers and tankers to block aid shipment. Credit: AP

Maduro says it’s all part of the plot to end his rule and to humiliate his nation.

Much better, he argues, for Washington to lift the sanctions he blames for Venezuela’s meltdown.

So much for rhetoric. Real dangers lurk that might intensify the crisis.

Venezuelan migrants line up with their children for a free lunch served at the migrant shelter on the outskirts of Colombia. Credit: AP

Colombia has reportedly begun delivering US aid to staging posts before its sent into Venezuela.

Other dispatch depots are being established, it’s said in Brazil and the Caribbean.

It poses the tough question to Venezualans; do you want Maduro or do you want to eat?

Children are taking to the streets to eat their food from rubbish bins. Credit: ITV News

Caracas with rumours of American and Colombian troops massing on the border, preparing to deliver the aid.

The head of USAID shared pictures on social media of boxes emblazoned with the American flag being prepared for delivery.

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But it is a risky strategy.

A flare-up on the border could quickly escalate out of control, and with China and Russia backing Maduro on one side and the US and Europe on the other, that could have international repercussions.