efe-epaBy Ron González. Caracas

The government of Nicolas Maduro, the opposition and Venezuelans celebrated on Tuesday the entry of the first batch of humanitarian aid that has now been distributed among the most disadvantaged sectors of Caracas.

In the western neighborhood of Catia, Red Cross workers delivered jerry cans and water purification tablets to hundreds of families affected by the irregular supply of water.

"It is a very good help in the situation that is happening in our country right now with the absence of water, which is not being delivered to us as we deserve," said household worker Marianela Torres.

The woman was one of hundreds of people who waited in line to receive the donations, adding that she has suffered stomach problems, she believes, from consuming contaminated water.

Venezuela, the country with the largest proven oil reserves on the planet, is going through a severe political and economic crisis resulting in widespread food and medicine shortages and hyperinflation, which the International Monetary Fund foresees closing at 10,000,000 percent this year.

The country is also often plagued by power blackouts, which paralyzes the economy and the pumping of water into homes.

The opposition has repeatedly claimed since 2016 that the country has been gripped by a complex humanitarian crisis under Maduro, which until Tuesday the ruler denied in principle. However, Maduro blames it on economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union against his administration.

"Legally, through the port of La Guaira, through the airport of Maiquetia, in coordination with the constitutional government, the legitimate government of Venezuela that I preside over, all the humanitarian aid that wants to arrive is welcome," said Maduro on Tuesday during an event with supporters broadcast on radio and television.

Among the donations, there were medical supplies to serve 10,000 people as well as 14 generators to maintain electricity in hospitals during the blackouts.

Maduro welcomed the donations, which he said came "together" with his government, although he said that millions of Venezuelans are saved every day through the primary care program known as Barrio Adentro, which relies on Cuba.

"They don't count that we have more than 20,000 doctors every day in their offices and walking house by house, creating a preventive health system with the people," he said.

But the leader of the opposition National Assembly, Juan Guaido, who proclaimed himself leader of the interim government in January and is accepted by almost 60 countries, said that Venezuela's health system has collapsed and accused Maduro of causing the crisis.

"The health system doesn't exist," Guaido said during a meeting with deputies in parliament. "Not even primary care," he added, pointing out that Barrio Adentro's mobile clinics have no medicines and their facilities are in poor condition.

Afterwards, he celebrated the influx of the donations on Twitter.

"Today the regime is obliged to recognize its failure and all of Venezuela must be certain that we are on the right path to our freedom,” he said.

The exact amount of donations that came in is still unknown, but the Assembly said new shipments will arrive in the coming weeks.

"This is the first of the shipments. There are several shipments … Other planes are coming in the following days, in the following weeks," said the president of the Commission for Social Development and Integration, Miguel Pizarro, in a news conference.

The opponent, who did not elaborate on details because there is a "principle of no political interference" in relation to the entry of the cargo, noted that "this is an atypical process" and that Venezuela never should have reached this point.

He assured that his commission will be responsible for accompanying and ensuring the distribution of humanitarian aid so that there is no "manipulation" or "intervention" by the government of Maduro.

However, some Caracas residents, such as the small trader Carmen Castillo, feel that the donations are politicized and that the leaders of the ruling party and the opposition scored points in their favor with the distribution of aid.

"Thank God that the president in charge, Guaido, emphasized that this will come for Venezuela, and, well, also thanks a little to the government (of Maduro) that agreed to let it come," the 62-year-old told EFE.

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