In a briefing on March 29, Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams discussed the need to get humanitarian assistance to the people of Venezuela.
The Special Representative addressed the March 29 announcement that Interim President Guaido made about an agreement between the International Federation of Red Cross and the Catholic Bishops Episcopal Conference in Venezuela to try to get health-related humanitarian aid for 650,000 people into the country. The Special Representative cited recent reports about the internal humanitarian situation, which highlight that preventable diseases such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, measles, and malaria have resurfaced in the country and are on the rise, as is Hepatitis A due to the lack of access to safe drinking water.
Referring to the agreement announced by Interim President Guaido, the Special Representative said, "This looks like a real opportunity, and we think it is a response to the efforts that Interim President Guaido has been making. So it’s very welcome. We hope it works. And assuming that it does, which we do, the United States would be happy to get some of our aid into this method of reaching the Venezuelan people, because that’s the purpose of what we were doing in getting the aid nearer to Venezuela."
Special Representative Elliott emphasized that while the news of potential health-related humanitarian aid getting to the people of Venezuela is a positive step, the needs of the people of Venezuela are broader. He underscored that this health-related humanitarian aid is not going to solve the problems Venezuelans face related to clean water and blackouts caused by the lack of maintenance on and investment in the country's electric power system. "This aid is not going to solve the problems that Venezuelans face. The kind of aid that is needed for a broad recovery of the Venezuelan economy really cannot be put in place until the regime is replaced by a democratic government, when I think you’ll see the international financial institutions and other donors really move in to try to help the people of Venezuela," he stated.
The Special Representative also addressed the recent ruling by the regime that Juan Guaido cannot participate in Venezuelan politics for 15 years. He said, "That’s consistent with the regime’s efforts to eliminate all democratic voices and all opposition forces and voices in Venezuela. I don’t imagine that Juan Guaido is deeply worried because the Maduro regime, while it might be around in 15 days, is not going to be around in 15 years. So it’s ludicrous – a ludicrous effort on the part of the regime to keep Mr. Guaido quiet."
The United States remains committed to helping the people of Venezuela. The United States has provided more than $195 million-including more than $152 million in humanitarian assistance and approximately $43 million in development and economic assistance, to support the generous efforts of countries in the region that are hosting the nearly 3.4 million people who have fled the chaos in Venezuela.
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