The government of Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro has announced that it will hold its own huge concert to rival one being organised by billionaire British businessman Richard Branson, a backer of the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó.
The information minister, Jorge Rodriguez, said the government will throw a concert on Saturday and Sunday on Venezuela’s side of the border opposite one in Colombia organised by Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Branson said on Monday that he hopes the concert he is throwing will save lives by raising money for “much-needed medical help” for crisis-torn Venezuela, which is suffering from hyperinflation and widespread shortages of food and medicine.
He said he is aiming to raise $100m for suffering Venezuelans and open the borders to emergency aid. Up to 300,000 people are expected to attend Friday’s concert featuring Spanish-French singer Manu Chao, Mexican band Maná, Spanish singer-songwriter Alejandro Sanz and Dominican artist Juan Luis Guerra.
Branson said that it is not funded by any government and that all the artists are performing for free. The plan is to raise donations from viewers watching the concert on a livestream over the internet.