The United States on Friday announced that it’s earmarking an additional $16 million dollars to aid Venezuelan migrants who are fleeing that country’s hunger, violence and economic collapse.
The U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, said the new funds would include a contribution to the United Nations Refugee Agency, which is aiding Venezuelans in Brazil and Colombia.
The funding is in addition to the $2.5 million dollars the U.S. State Department already committed to helping Colombia absorb hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan exiles.
More than 1 million Venezuelans have fled the country in recent years in what is becoming a major humanitarian crisis in the region.
The announcement came as Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Lima, Peru, Friday for the eighth Summit of the Americas — an event that draws leaders from across the region.
Shortly after arriving, Pence met with Venezuelan opposition figures at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Lima, including the former president of the National Assembly, Julio Borges, and former Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma.
Venezuela’s opposition is pushing for the international community to ratchet up sanctions against President Nicolás Maduro and his associates, as the country heads into a controversial May 20 presidential election that Washington and other nations say they will not recognize.