Sunday, October 29, 2023

US announces aid for Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis


The ongoing economic and political crisis in Venezuela has led to the displacement of millions of people, with many struggling to access basic services, food, and employment. The United States, which does not recognize the government of Nicolas Maduro, has pledged over $171 million in humanitarian assistance and development funding to help those impacted by the crisis.

At a donor conference in Brussels, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced that the funding will be used to provide food, healthcare, emergency shelter, and legal and protection services. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) stated that $84 million of the funding will go towards direct aid for Venezuelans who remain in the country, while $31 million will be used to help the economic integration of Venezuelans who have fled to Colombia and Ecuador. The remaining $56 million will support various humanitarian programs for Venezuelans and their host communities, covering emergency shelter, healthcare access, and the protection of vulnerable groups.

This latest funding follows a September announcement by the US that it would provide nearly $376 million in humanitarian aid to Venezuelans. The US backs Venezuela’s opposition and recognizes its parallel legislature, while decrying what it sees as socialist President Nicolas Maduro’s dictatorship. Under former President Donald Trump’s administration, the US intensified its sanctions against Venezuela, freezing and seizing Venezuelan government funds at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and using the money to support opposition lawmakers who oppose Maduro.

However, the Venezuelan opposition has expressed frustration with the US clearance process needed to replace its previous point person for fund distribution, former interim President Juan Guaido. They say that the funds will help humanitarian efforts. Maduro’s government opposes what it sees as US foreign interference in its politics and has accused the opposition of stealing funds that could be used for social and medical support.

The crisis in Venezuela has led to the displacement of seven million people in recent years, with most now scattered around Latin America and the Caribbean, according to figures from the United Nations. The situation has been exacerbated by hyperinflation, food and medicine shortages, and political instability. The funding from the US will provide much-needed relief to those impacted by the crisis and help support their basic needs.

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