Trump bans Venezuelan officials from U.S., boosts aid in support of opposition

Trump bans Venezuelan officials from U.S., boosts aid in support of opposition
# 26 September 2019 06:33 (UTC +04:00)

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday reinforced his support for Venezuelan opposition politician Juan Guaido on Wednesday, praising Latin American leaders who back him, boosting aid funding and barring members of President Nicolas Maduro’s government from entering the United States, APA reports quoting Reuters.

In a meeting on the sidelines of the annual United Nations gathering of world leaders, Trump told Latin American presidents who recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s rightful president that they were part of a “historic coalition.”

For more than eight months they have been trying to oust Maduro, who has overseen a dramatic economic collapse and is accused of corruption, human rights violations and rigging the 2018 presidential election.

The New York meeting was part of the administration’s efforts to keep Venezuela “high on the international agenda,” a senior U.S. State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Monday, pushing back on perceptions that the U.S. commitment to Venezuela was waning.

But it was not clear what further options Washington had left. The opposition delegation came to the U.N. General Assembly in search of a breakthrough in its eight-month power struggle with Maduro, but is more focused on getting the European Union to sanction Maduro officials with assets stashed in European countries.

The State Department said it would provide $36 million in humanitarian aid in Venezuela to go toward an underfunded U.N. program aiming at raising $223 million to serve 2.6 million people. Previous aid efforts within Venezuela have been marked by concerns Maduro would interfere with distribution.

“We’re giving millions and millions of dollars in aid, not that we want to, from the Maduro standpoint, but we have to,” Trump said during a news conference on Wednesday afternoon. “People are dying, they have no food, they (have) no water, they have no nothing.”

It is also providing Guaido with $52 million to fund his parallel government’s operations - much of which was diverted from money previously destined for Central American countries, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) director Mark Green said on Wednesday.