Less than a week after business magnate Richard Branson announced that he was organizing a "Live Aid"-style music benefit to tackle Venezuela's humanitarian crisis — it appears that the country's government has similar plans of its own.
On Monday, the government of President Nicolas Maduro stated that it would hold its own concert this weekend on Venezuela's side of the border, according to the Associated Press (AP), opposite the Branson-led concert which will take place on the Colombian side of the border.
Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez stated that 20,000 boxes of government-subsidized food would also be sent to the impoverished based in Cucuta, AP added, the Colombian border city where Branson's "Venezuela Aid Live" is set to be held on Friday. The government's rival concert is set to take place for two consecutive days later this week.
The government's news comes just days after the Virgin Group founder announced the "Venezuela Aid Live" concert, an event looking to raise funds and awareness surrounding the ongoing crisis affecting the South American country.
"Venezuela is suffering and not that long ago it was the wealthiest country in South America. Now, it is facing the worst humanitarian crisis in the Western hemisphere," the entrepreneur said in a video posted online last Friday.
At present, millions of Venezuelans have been displaced or driven out of the country, as citizens face major shortages on basic goods such as medicine and food, along with other issues such as power cuts.
"Venezuela Aid Live" hopes to raise $100 million within the next two months, so that humanitarian aid can be delivered to those in need.
As of late, Maduro has repeatedly resisted letting foreign aid into Venezuela, with the country's armed forces having barricaded a critical point of entry for the relief to be delivered. It also comes as the country faces political turmoil, with division being seen in the international community over who leads the South American nation, Maduro or opposition leader, Juan Guaido.
In the video statement last week, Branson said that the global community must "break this impasse," referring to the crisis which he said Maduro's regime was responsible for. The entrepreneur added that if this wasn't addressed, many Venezuelans would face starvation and/or death.
While Branson didn't specifically comment on the government's rival concert, he did tell AP that he hoped "Venezuela Aid Live" would grab the attention of people from all over the world. Guaido did however state that the rival concert by Maduro's government was a "desperate" move— that's according to AP.
Speaking to AP, Branson said that the organizers of Friday's event want to make it "a joyous occasion", adding that they hope that "sense prevails and that the military allows the bridge to be open so that much-needed supplies can be sent across."
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