US military planes head for Venezuela with aid

HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Florida (AP) — The U.S. Air Force has begun flying tons of aid to a Colombian town on the Venezuelan border as part of an effort meant to undermine socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

The first of three C-17 cargo planes took off Saturday from Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida and landed in the town of Cucuta. It’s a collection point for aid that’s supposed to be distributed by backers of Juan Guaido, the congressional leader who is recognized by the U.S. as Venezuela’s legitimate president.

Previous aid shipments came on commercial planes.

Maduro has vowed to block the aid, which he calls unnecessary and illegal. He blames any hunger in the country on U.S. restrictions and his domestic foes.

Saturday’s 180-ton shipment includes food or health packages for more than 25,000 people.

By Associated Press