AP Interview: Branson hopes concert saves Venezuelan lives


CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Billionaire Richard Branson says that he hopes that the concert he’s throwing to rally humanitarian aid for Venezuela will help draw global attention and saves lives by raising funds for “much-needed medical help.”

Branson told The Associated Press Monday that up to 300,000 people are expected to attend the Feb. 22 concert.

It’s being held in the Colombian border city, the staging point for foreign humanitarian aid 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 the concert will help break Maduro’s blockade so the aid can reach Venezuelans suffering from chronic shortages of food and medicine.

Venezuela’s Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez on Monday announced a rival concert for Feb. 22 and Feb. 23.