WASHINGTON DC – The administration of President Donald Trump plans to divert more than $40 million initially earmarked for humanitarian aid in Central America to fund the Venezuelan opposition.
According to the newspaper The Los Angeles Times, in an internal memo obtained by The Times, dated July 11, the US Agency for International Development notified Congress that the money will go to Venezuela in response to an urgent crisis involves US national interests.
In particular, according to the memorandum, it is planned to channel US $41.9 million, originally intended to help Guatemala and Honduras, to finance Venezuelan opponent Juan Guaidó and his group, including wages, good governance, training, propaganda, technical assistance in elections and other projects, supposedly to build democracy.
In mid-June, the Trump administration announced that it would not make new funds available to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras until their governments implemented concrete measures to curb irregular migration.
The State Department rectified $615 million for assistance, which President Donald Trump had requested in March, and decided to keep the $432 million in projects and donations that had been approved for fiscal year 2017.
Meanwhile, $370 million from the 2018 budget would have been diverted to other projects, the State Department said.
The crisis in Venezuela worsened as of January this year, when opposition leader Juan Guaidó proclaimed himself president of the country, receiving immediate support from the United States and its various allies.
Nicolas Maduro criticized the position taken by Guaidó, claiming that the opposition leader acted under US orders in an attempt to overthrow him and control the country’s oil. In May of this year, the Venezuelan opposition made a failed attempt of coup d’état involving the country’s military.
Meanwhile, President Nicolas Maduro sent a message to the Venezuelans asking them to work on the basis of national dialogue to overcome the crisis faced by that nation.
“Those of us who believe in democratic values, always fight for the right to freedom, tranquility and development of the Venezuelan people, I reiterate my call for peace and unity of all sectors of national life,” the president said in message posted on Twitter.
The president gave a speech on 11 July in which he assured that the opposition delegations and the government had succeeded in establishing a permanent dialogue table with the mediation of Norway in Barbados after three days of talks.