Supporting the People of Venezuela

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Supporting the People of Venezuela

On July 12, 2019, Secretary General Luis Almagro of the Organization of American States (OAS) hosted a press conference to discuss the urgent and ongoing human rights crisis in Venezuela.  U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams delivered remarks at the OAS event, where he described ongoing credible reports that the former Maduro regime is engaged in systemic human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, detention of political prisoners.

In a press briefing on July 11, State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus previewed the OAS event and also discussed the Maduro regime’s human rights abuses. 

In addition to the OAS event, the United States continued to engage with the international community in support of the Venezuelan people as they seek to restore democracy in their country.  Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo applauded Greece's recognition of Interim President Juan Guaidó.

On July 11, the United States issued new sanctions against the Maduro-aligned General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence, known as DGCIM.The DGCIM is Venezuela’s Counterintelligence Agency and has been implicated in a variety of human rights violations and abuses, including in the July 5 report of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The reported abuses include intimidation, arbitrary arrest, torture, forced confessions, and brutal methods inflicting harm on detainees.

In a press statement, Spokesperson Ortagus said, “The United States is taking this action to impose costs on Maduro-aligned officials for these abuses, in particular for their recent actions leading to the killing of Venezuelan Navy Captain Rafael Acosta. The heartbreaking pleas and reported visible signs of torture of Captain Acosta at a public hearing and his subsequent death on June 29 left no doubt of the extent of the DGCIM’s vicious attacks on the military.”

This week, the United States also called for the release of  the wrongfully detained U.S. persons, known as the “CITGO 6” in Venezuela.  In press statements on June 8 and June 12, Spokesperson Ortagus addressed conflicting reports regarding the welfare and whereabouts of the group and urged the former Maduro regime provide an immediate update on their condition.

Through assistance efforts, the United States is answering Interim President Guaidó’s call to help the people of Venezuela cope with food and medicine shortages, as Venezuelans flee the crisis in their country.  Since FY 2017, the United States has provided over $256 million in assistance to support the regional response to the crisis, which includes $213 million in humanitarian assistance and $43 million in economic and development assistance.  For more information and updates on the regional humanitarian response, visit usaid.gov/estamosunidosve.