Branson concert to raise aid for Venezuela
Sir Richard Branson has said he hopes a concert he is throwing to rally humanitarian aid for Venezuela will help draw global attention and save lives by raising funds for “much-needed medical help” for the crisis-torn country.
The British billionaire told the Associated Press that up to 300,000 people are expected to attend Friday’s concert on the Venezuela-Colombia border, featuring Spanish-French singer Manu Chao, Mexican band Mana, Spanish singer-songwriter Alejandro Sanz and Dominican artist Juan Luis Guerra.
Sir Richard said it is not funded by any government and all artists are performing for free. He is hoping to raise donations from viewers watching on a livestream.
“Venezuela, sadly, has not become the utopia that the current administration of Venezuela or the past administration were hoping for, and that has resulted in a lot of people literally dying from lack of medical help”, he said in a telephone interview from his home in the British Virgin Islands.
“I think it will draw attention to the problem on a global basis.”
The concert is being held in the Colombian border city of Cucuta, a town of 700,000 people that has been swollen by hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing hardship in Venezuela.
The city is the staging point for foreign humanitarian aid – much of it from the US government – that is being blocked from entry to Venezuela by President Nicolas Maduro.
Sir Richard said he has spoken to Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido and hopes the armed forces, until now loyal to Mr Maduro, allow the aid to reach Venezuelans suffering from chronic shortages of food and medicine.
“We want to make it a joyous occasion,” he said about the concert. “And we’re hoping that sense prevails and that the military allows the bridge to be open so that much-needed supplies can be sent across.”
Mr Guaido declared himself interim president on 23rd January with the backing of the US and most South American and European nations who argue that Mr Maduro’s re-election was fraudulent.
He has announced that humanitarian aid will enter Venezuela on Saturday, the day after the concert.Tags: concert, Cucuta, Humanitarian aid, Juan Guaido, medical help, Sir Richard Branson, Venezuela