Venezuela

Ivanka meets Guaidó aides, announces $120 million in US aid for displaced Venezuelans

Venezuelans joining other migrants at U.S.-Mexico border

Venezuelans used to be able to fly to the United States with a visa, but now a growing number are choosing to go to the southern border to ask for political asylum.
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Venezuelans used to be able to fly to the United States with a visa, but now a growing number are choosing to go to the southern border to ask for political asylum.

Ivanka Trump met with aides to Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaidó in Colombia on Wednesday to underscore support for a “democratic transition in Venezuela” and offer $120 million in U.S. assistance to neighboring countries under strain from a refugee crisis.

President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter and senior adviser joined the USAID Administrator Mark Green and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan at a migrant shelter in Cúcuta, a Colombian city bordering Venezuela, to announce the new package, which brings total U.S. aid to Venezuelan refugees in the region to $376 million.

A delegation with Guaidó, who has been recognized by the United States and 50 other nations as Venezuela’s interim president, also met privately with Ivanka and Sullivan to discuss the national crisis, according to administration officials.

In their meetings, a White House official said that Ivanka emphasized the important role women play in conflict resolution worldwide — a theme of her work in the administration — and called on female leaders in Venezuela to take a leading role in resolving the crisis there.

“We stand with the people of Venezuela in their struggle to restore democracy, freedom and rule of law,” Ivanka Trump said. “It was deeply moving to meet female leaders of the Guaidó coalition as well as some of the women impacted most by the brutal Maduro dictatorship.”

A spokesman for the State Department said that the new assistance is meant to “address the largest external displacement of persons in the Hemisphere’s history.”

“This additional funding provides vital support, including emergency food and health assistance, to vulnerable Venezuelans in Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, and throughout the region,” said Morgan Ortagus. “The political and economic crisis – reported to be one of the world’s deepest economic declines outside of war or natural disaster in the last half century – has left the people of Venezuela facing a depth of suffering not before seen in this once prosperous country.”

Ivanka is on a three-day tour of Colombia, Argentina and Paraguay with Sullivan to discuss the Venezuelan crisis and women’s economic empowerment.

The U.N. Refugee Agency reported last week that over 4.3 million Venezuelans had fled the country due to the economic crisis there under Nicolás Maduro, the country’s embattled president.

The agency called for an increase in international assistance.

“As of today, there is no end in sight to this massive population movement, which includes an increasing number of people with vulnerabilities, many of them in need of international protection,” said Eduardo Stein, the U.N.’s special representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants.

Updated with Ivanka Trump quote

Michael Wilner joined McClatchy as its White House correspondent in 2019. He previously served as Washington bureau chief for The Jerusalem Post, where he led coverage of the Iran nuclear talks, the Syrian refugee crisis and the 2016 US presidential campaign. Wilner holds degrees from Claremont McKenna College and Columbia University and is a native of New York City.
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