The economic and political crisis in Venezuela has forced seven million people to leave the country, most of whom are now dispersed throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
In response to the crisis, the United States has pledged more than $171 million in humanitarian aid and development funding.
US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, stated at the donor conference in Brussels that the funds would be used to provide food, healthcare, emergency shelter, legal and protection services to those impacted by the crisis.
Of the total amount, $84 million will be directly allocated to aid those who remain in Venezuela, while $31 million will be used to facilitate the economic integration of Venezuelan refugees who have fled to Colombia and Ecuador.
The remaining $56 million will support various humanitarian programs for both refugees and their host communities, such as emergency shelter, healthcare access, and the protection of vulnerable groups.
This new funding follows a September 2020 announcement that the US would provide nearly $376 million in humanitarian aid to Venezuelans. The US supports Venezuela’s opposition, recognizes its parallel legislature, and opposes what it considers socialist President Nicolas Maduro’s dictatorship.
During the previous administration of former President Donald Trump, the US imposed strict sanctions against the country, freezing and seizing Venezuelan government funds at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to support opposition lawmakers who oppose Maduro.
The Venezuelan opposition has complained that the US clearance process needed to replace its previous point person for fund distribution, former interim President Juan Guaido, is stretching on. They say the funds will help humanitarian efforts.
Maduro’s government opposes what it says is US foreign interference in its politics and has said the opposition stole funds that could be used for social and medical support.