The United States announced this week it will provide $2.5 million in aid to Venezuelan refugees who have fled their country to Colombia amid a deepening political and humanitarian crisis in their homeland.
In a statement published Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. would provide additional humanitarian assistance to ease the suffering of those fleeing the socialist regime, many of whom have had little to no access to basic resources, such as food, medicine, and sanitary products.
“Effective immediately, the United States is increasing humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans in Colombia who were forced to leave their country due to the ongoing crisis created by the Maduro regime,” Nauert said.
“The funds will go to humanitarian organizations that provide Venezuelans with emergency food and health assistance in impacted border areas,” she continued. “We applaud the government of Colombia for its compassion in hosting hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who have fled their country.”
The additional funds come as the humanitarian situation in Venezuela continues to worsen and increasing numbers of people cross the border into neighboring countries, Colombia and Brazil, for example, in what has now become one of the world’s most pressing migration crises.
Colombia has previously pledged to meet the challenge of Venezuelans migrating en masse but has also asked for greater international efforts and funding to support its stretched resources. In addition to refuge from the Maduro regime, Colombian officials have promised to provide medical attention, food supplies, and children’s education in a bid to meet humanitarian commitments.
Tensions over large-scale migration are beginning to boil over in some of the most heavily affected areas, with residents in the border town of Cúcuta growing angry with the increased numbers of unemployment and crime, as well as the fear that Venezuelans will undercut their wages.
This week in Brazil, residents in the border state of Roraima protested the recent influx of migrants by storming an abandoned building where they were seeking shelter, thereby destroying most of their possessions.
The U.S. has chosen to take a tough approach against the increasingly totalitarian Maduro regime, as President Donald Trump signed multiple sanctions against the country’s oil industry that this week included a ban on Americans dealing in Venezuela’s new state cryptocurrency.
Trump himself has repeatedly pledged loyalty to the Venezuelan cause and even floated the possibility of military action, stressing that “all options are on the table” regarding the U.S. response to the crisis.