Billionaire Richard Branson said yesterday that he hopes the concert he’s 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.
Branson told The Associated Press that up to 300,000 people are expected to attend Friday’s concert on the Venezuela-Colombia border.
Branson said it is not funded by any government and that all artistes are performing for free, hoping to raise donations from viewers watching it on a livestream over the internet.
The concert is being held in the Colombian border city of Cucuta, a town of some 700,000 people that has been swollen by hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing hardship in Venezuela.
Branson said the city is the staging point for foreign humanitarian aid — much of it from the U.S. government — that is being blocked from entry to Venezuela by socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
Branson said he’s spoken to Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido and hopes that the armed forces, until now loyal to Maduro, allow the aid to reach Venezuelans suffering from chronic shortages of food and medicine.