The United States announced on Monday that it would send a $6 million aid package to Colombia to help Venezuelan refugees fleeing to the neighboring country.
Speaking from the Colombian border town of Cucutá, the Chief of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mark Green condemned Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro’s “delusional and inhumane” policies while also accusing him of human rights abuses.
“We are standing on the front lines of one of the largest displacements of people in the history of Latin America; 1.6 million Venezuelans have already fled their home country,” Green said.
“And as has been reinforced for us today, as we have spoken to Venezuelans, they are fleeing hunger, they are fleeing a lack of medicine and a lack of opportunity,” he continued. “More fundamentally, they are fleeing opposition and tyranny, and they are fleeing a dysfunctional, despotic regime.”
Green confirmed that the latest aid package would help relieve the pressure on Colombian authorities, who have bared the brunt of the over one million Venezuelans there who have fled in search of a better life.
“Today, I am announcing that the United States is contributing an additional $6 million in humanitarian assistance to provide urgent food and health assistance for Venezuelans in Colombia,” he said.
“This assistance will support Colombia’s ongoing efforts to handle the influx of Venezuelans who are pouring into Colombia,” he continued. “And with this new funding, the U.S. is now providing more than $56 million in development and humanitarian assistance for Venezuelans in the region, including nearly $32 million here in Colombia.”
The additional funds come as the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela continues to worsen, with skyrocketing rates of poverty, malnutrition, and lack of medical resources, with the country’s monthly minimum wage equivalent to under two dollars a month.
As a result, increasing numbers of people are migrating to countries such as Colombia and Brazil in what has now become one of the world’s most urgent migration crises, a reality that has also caused significant tension among local communities.
Alongside humanitarian aid, the United States remains at the forefront of placing economic sanctions against the Maduro regime, mainly designed to cripple the country’s state-run oil industry that represents a major part of its economy. However, such efforts appear to have little effect as Maduro recently won himself an additional five-year term by rigging an electoral process where opposition candidates were banned from running.
Last week, The Associated Press reported that President Donald Trump pressed aides on the possibility of using a military solution or even invading the country to topple the Maduro regime. However, the idea was allegedly rejected by his then National Security adviser H.R. McMaster as well as regional leaders including Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. The White House has yet to comment on the report.