Office of the Spokesperson
February 7, 2019
Recognizing the regional Humanitarian Crisis: Former President Nicolas Maduro’s systematic economic mismanagement, corruption, and violent oppression have caused severe shortages of food and medicine and needless human suffering, resulting in an exodus of millions of Venezuelans to neighboring countries.
- The spiraling effects of this political and man-made economic crisis have dire humanitarian consequences.
- In what was once the richest country in Latin America, hyperinflation is estimated to have reached 1.37 million percent in 2018, according to the International Monetary Fund. Approximately one month of food for a family costs more than 100 times the monthly minimum wage. As a result, many Venezuelans cannot eat every day.
- Crumbling infrastructure has disrupted water and sanitation services, and a collapsing health system has prompted outbreaks of previously eradicated diseases, such as measles, that have spread to neighboring countries:
- Nearly 90 percent of Venezuelan hospitals surveyed reported medicine shortages, and nearly 70 percent reported regular power and water outages.
- A majority of the nearly 17,000 measles cases recorded throughout the region have been traced to outbreaks in Venezuela, because of the breakdown of basic childhood vaccination systems – one of the most basic health services a government can provide.
- In 2017, the Maduro regime fired its health minister, not because of the health catastrophe underway, but because the Minister publicly released an update on health statistics. Since then, the regime has stopped publishing health statistics to hide the scale of its mismanagement.
- According to United Nations estimates, more than three million Venezuelans have left their country, a number that is projected to rise to more than five million by the end of 2019:
- This outflow of vulnerable Venezuelans is straining healthcare, education and other social services in neighboring countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
The United States is staging emergency humanitarian assistance in the region in response to Interim President Guiado’s request for aid. The United States is mobilizing life-saving humanitarian aid for the people of Venezuela:
- The U.S. government is procuring and pre-positioning assistance requested by President Guaido’s team, and calls on the Venezuelan security forces to allow these urgently needed supplies to enter the country.
- These efforts follow Secretary Pompeo’s January 24, announcement that the United States is ready to provide more than $20 million in initial humanitarian assistance to the people of Venezuela, as they struggle to cope with severe food and medicine shortages and other dire impacts of their country’s political, and Maduro-made economic and humanitarian crisis.
- This assistance will provide urgently needed medical supplies and will be aimed at reaching the most vulnerable populations in Venezuela
Standing with our Hemispheric neighbors: The United States is supporting our Hemispheric partners in addressing the needs of Venezuelans who have fled to the region.
- Since Fiscal Year 2017, the United States has provided more than $140 million, including nearly $97 million in humanitarian assistance and approximately $44 million in development assistance, to support the generous efforts of countries hosting Venezuelans who have fled the chaos in their homeland.
- U.S. assistance includes support for Venezuelans in 17 countries in the region, including Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago. In particular, the United States funds United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations to provide life-saving assistance, such as food, health care, protection, and shelter, to Venezuelans and host communities in the region.
- The United States will continue to scale up humanitarian assistance in the region to meet evolving needs and reduce the impact of the crisis on Venezuelans and host countries.