VENEZUELA (CelebrityAccess) As Richard Branson, flounder of the Virgin brand, prepares for his Venezuela Aid Live concert slated for this Friday, he may be facing competition from the Venezuelan government itself, which is planning on staging a rival music performance.
As Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro faces pressure to step down, officials say that not only will the government hold a concert to balance that of Branson, but will hand out 20,000 boxes of subsidized food to poor people in the Colombian border city of Cúcuta, which is where U.S,. officials and opponents of Maduro are launching humanitarian efforts to get aid into Venezuela, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Branson wants to raise $100 million through Venezuela Aid Live, to take place in Cúcuta, and will be live-streamed worldwide. Performers apparently include Carlos Vives, Alejandro Sanz, Juanes, Luis Fonsi, Fonseca and Alesso and includes a coalition that includes Columbian entrepreneurs Ricardo Leyva and Bruno Ocampo. The concert intends to pressure Maduro’s government to let humanitarian assistance into the country, which has seen some of the worst poverty, riots and famine in Latin America’s recent history.
The Maduro-sponsored concert, on the other hand, is dubbed “Hands Off Venezuela,” according to the WSJ. It will take place on the Venezuelan side of Cúcuta, and will extend into Saturday.
“There are so many Venezuelan artists, brothers from around the world, that want to participate in this message of love,” Jorge Rodríguez, the communications minister, said of the Maduro event.
“That’s no charity,” Father José David Cañas, a Catholic priest who runs a soup kitchen in Cúcuta for Venezuelan migrants, said of Maduro’s plans, according to the paper. “They could close the border for three or four days, which would affect these people of God.”