(CTN News) – More than $171 million in humanitarian aid and development funds was pledged by the United States on Friday during a donor conference to aid Venezuelans affected by the country’s economic and political crises.
Background on Venezuela’s Crisis and Refugee Situation
According to UN estimates, 7 million people have fled Venezuela in response to the catastrophe there during the past few years, and most have settled in other parts of South America and the Caribbean. Getting access to healthcare, enough nutrition, and stable employment is a struggle for many.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield spoke electronically at the meeting in Brussels, noting that the extra funds will help offer food, healthcare, emergency shelter, and access to legal and protection services.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said in a statement that $84 million of the funds would be used for humanitarian assistance, providing direct relief to Venezuelans still in the country, while the remaining $31 million would be used to aid the economic integration of Venezuelans who had fled to Colombia and Ecuador.
According to USAID, the remaining $56 million will go towards various humanitarian projects that provide emergency shelter, access to health care, and protect vulnerable groups for Venezuelans and their host communities.
The money came after the US government said in September that it would give Venezuelans about $376 million in humanitarian help.
The United States supports the opposition in Venezuela, recognizing the country’s parallel legislature and condemning what it calls the socialist dictatorship of President Nicolas Maduro.
US Opposition to Maduro’s Government and Sanctions Against Venezuela
The Trump administration imposed stricter sanctions on the South American nation than previous administrations.
Funds held by the Venezuelan government at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York were frozen, seized, and then used to bolster anti-Maduro legislators’ campaigns.
The Venezuelan opposition has been complaining about the length of time it takes to replace ex-interim president Juan Guaido as the opposition’s point person for funding distribution after being cleared for that role by the United States. They further claim the money will be used to aid people in need.
The Maduro government has been vocal in its opposition to what it calls the U.S. meddling in its politics and has accused the opposition of stealing money that could have gone toward social and medical services.
Related CTN News: