Roughly five percent of the population of Venezuela have left the country in recent years. A near total economic collapse driven by hyperinflation and an increasingly repressive and authoritarian government in Caracas are the principal causes of the exodus.
Many Venezuelans who have fled have gone to neighboring Colombia. The city of Cúcuta on the border with Venezuela has been a major point of entry for Venezuelans entering Colombia on foot.
Each day roughly 35,000 people cross the Simón Bolívar bridge into Colombia, according to National Geographic. Some cross to buy basic necessities that are in short supply in Venezuela, while many others don’t plan to return home.
While delivering remarks in Cúcuta, Mark Green, the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), announced “an additional $6 million in humanitarian assistance to provide urgent food and health assistance for Venezuelans in Colombia.”
Green added that the United States is already providing nearly $32 million in assistance in Colombia and more than $24 million more throughout the region.
“Here at the border, USAID is supporting a local vaccination program that administers hundreds of vaccinations each day,” said Green. “We’re also providing urgent food aid and technical support for the Colombian hospitals that are caring for the influx of arrivals.”
Green explained that the additional funding will go through organizations partnered with USAID and the government of Colombia. He added that his agency and the government of Colombia will coordinate closely with one another.
The administrator was unambiguous as to who the United States blames for the humanitarian crisis saying that the crisis “It is the direct result of a corrupt Maduro regime who commits human rights abuses and denies its people access to the most basic of services.”
“The U.S. Government condemns Venezuela’s delusional and inhumane, misguided policies that have exacerbated an avoidable humanitarian crisis,” Green added. “But even as we press for a long-term solution, we will proudly stand with the people of Venezuela. And we will support the work of Colombia and others in the region to help Venezuelans.”