Federal funding package will include Venezuelan aid
Venezuela will receive economic support from the U.S. government after the VERDAD Act was passed as part of the financial package in Congress.
While the country is split in two over the impeachment of President Donald Trump, there are still projects in which Democrats and Republicans find common ground.
To the surprise of many, that ground has been Venezuela.
Last Monday, the Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance, and Development Act (VERDAD Act) was introduced in a bipartisan agreement by representatives Donna Shalala, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of Florida, and brought to Senate floor by Senators Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio.
"The VERDAD Act strengthens the U.S. response to Venezuela's growing humanitarian crisis," Senator Menendez said in a press release. "It also maintains strategic pressure on the Maduro regime and its foreign supporters, and advances efforts to address the vast amount of resources stolen from the Venezuelan people by regime officials.”
The VERDAD Act thus includes up to $400 million in humanitarian assistance for the Caribbean country and its neighbors and $17 million to support "democratic actors and civil society.”
It also prohibits visas for the families of regime officials, maintains the freezing of funds and assets of members of the regime, and prohibits the sale of Russian arms to the Maduro government.
— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) December 16, 2019
The bill was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is expected to be signed unaltered by President Trump.
However, despite the gesture implied by this proposal, Venezuela continues to be plunged into the worst humanitarian crisis in its history and in the modern history of Latin America, thanks to the destruction of infrastructure and the economic system by the Chavista regime and its twenty years of revolution.
Many Venezuelans now in the diaspora have turned to the United States in search of refuge and a safe life.
However, internal pacts and political mediocrity in Venezuela have prevented any gesture, humanitarian or political, from helping its citizens get out of the hell in which they live.
Today there are more than 4.6 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela around the world, according to official UNHCR figures. Of these, more than 650,000 are asylum seekers and are part of the largest exodus in the region's recent history.