Venezuela's self-proclaimed acting leader Juan Guaido refused to rule out Friday the possibility of authorizing a US intervention to help force President Nicolas Maduro from power and alleviate a humanitarian crisis.
National Assembly President Guaido told AFP he would do "everything that is necessary... to save human lives," acknowledging that United States intervention is "a very controversial subject."
The opposition leader launched a bid to oust Maduro last month, declaring himself acting president, a move recognized by the United States and around 40 countries, including 20 from the European Union.
Under Maduro's stewardship, Venezuela's economy has collapsed leaving the country wracked by hyperinflation, recession and shortages of basic necessities such as food and medicine.
Guaido, 35, is trying to bring in food and medicines from the US but the supplies are stuck in warehouses in Colombia because the Venezuelan military has blocked their entry.
Earlier, Maduro vowed not to let in "fake humanitarian aid" and claimed Venezuela's crisis has been "fabricated by Washington" to justify intervention.
Guaido says 300,000 people could die if desperately-needed aid isn't brought in.
"We're going to do everything that has a lower social cost, which generates governability and stability to deal with the emergency so we can recover public services," he said.
Failing public services including water, electricity and transport are among Venezuela's worst problems, while there is also a shortage of doctors and medical supplies in hospitals.
Helping the needy is not Guaido's only aim, though.
He has dismissed Maduro as illegitimate over his reelection last May in polls branded a fraud by the US, EU and many Latin American countries.
Guaido says the constitution allows him to assume power, set up a transitional government and hold new elections -- one of his key demands that has received widespread international support.
"We'll do everything we have to in a sovereign and autonomous manner to end the usurpation, (establish) the transitional government and (hold) free elections," he said.
© 2019 AFP