Branson organizing fundraising concert for Venezuela

Last Updated 15 February 2019, 14:23 IST

British billionaire Richard Branson is organizing a big concert to raise 100 million dollars in humanitarian aid for Venezuela and pressure the government to let it into the country.

The event will be held February 22 in the Colombian city of Cucuta, on the border with Venezuela, and live-streamed on the internet.

"Venezuela is suffering and not that long ago it was the wealthiest country in South America. Now it is facing the worst humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere," Branson says in a video posted on

The Virgin group founder said he is setting up the concert at the request of national assembly speaker Juan Guaido, now recognized by more than 50 countries as Venezuela's interim president, and jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, to draw attention to the crisis in Venezuela.

"Our goal is to raise $100 million dollars in 60 days and reopen Venezuela's border so humanitarian aid can finally reach those millions who need it the most," said Branson.

The musicians scheduled to perform include Venezuelan reggaeton artist Nacho, Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz and Colombians Carlos Vives and Juanes, according to the web site.

Also on the bill are the singer of the hit song "Despacito", Puerto Rico's Luis Fonsi, Spanish singer Miguel Bose, and British star Peter Gabriel.

The concert will be held a day before the date on which Guaido has insisted that humanitarian aid will start flowing into the country. It is now blocked at the border with Colombia.

Maduro refuses to let it in, saying this would be the first step toward a US invasion.

"We must break this impasse or soon many Venezuelans will be on the edge of starvation or death," Branson said.


(Published 15 February 2019, 14:19 IST)

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