The US will divert aid funds to Central America to support the Venezuelan opposition

       

The Administration of Trump affirms that it also invests in the protection of human rights, civil society and the independent press of the Caribbean country.

US support the Venezuelan opposition

The Donald Trump Administration plans to redirect development aid funds for Central America to support Juan Guaidó and the opposition movement to Chavez in Venezuela. A spokesman for the State Department confirmed to El País that the government is working on a “reprogramming” of part of these resources and that the decision “is consistent with the president’s directive that the United States not allocate new funds for programs in El Salvador. , Honduras and Guatemala.”

The United States recognized Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela on January 23, a challenge to the Nicolás Maduro regime that was soon followed by Canada, several Latin American countries and the main European powers. More than 50 States in total. But on the verge of being six months old, the Chavez leader is still clinging to power, largely sheltered behind the army and with the external support of Russia, China and Cuba. Meanwhile, the opposition tries to maintain a government structure, although without effective power over daily life, and a diplomatic network abroad that tries to promote its cause.

The Trump Administration seeks to invest in “good governance, human rights, technical assistance for the Government of Guaidó, independent media and civil society,” with the objective of “restoring democracy in Venezuela.” The same sources emphasize that “none of the programmed funds of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are humanitarian aid, all correspond to development aid”. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times published the first information on this issue citing a memorandum from the United States Development Assistance Agency and citing the withdrawn amount from Guatemala and Honduras at 41 million.

Washington did not confirm any amount and indicated that the process is still underway. “We are working with Congress, exploring the reprogramming of part of the funds towards the promotion of democracy in Venezuela, which includes support for the interim government of Guaidó and the National Assembly [also controlled by the opposition to Maduro],” he said. the Department of State. The United States is, by far, the power most involved in backing the anti-Chavez opposition, has redoubled the regime of sanctions against the regime and welcomed high officials who have defected from it, such as the former head of intelligence services, Cristopher Figuera.

In the ranks of the Venezuelan opposition, this aid is interpreted as another sign of international support for the plan of Guaidó, which has not yet clarified whether it had requested them and in what quantity. Two weeks ago, a delegation from the National Assembly held talks on the island of Barbados with representatives of the Government to explore the possibility of opening a path of dialogue. These meetings, sponsored by Norway, were reactivated after the UN Human Rights office, led by Michelle Bachelet, issued a devastating report on the restrictions of freedom under the Maduro regime. The document denounces some police abuses and points out an atrocious number of deaths attributed to “resistance to authority”: 5,287 only in 2018.

The attempt marks, in and of itself, differences with the more aggressive style that had characterized the leadership of Washington in the Venezuelan crisis. However, Guaidó says he does not give up any fight front. That is, in addition to seeking a negotiated exit from Hugo Chávez’s successor, he also demands the application of more sanctions and is willing to accept any help that redoubles the pressure and facilitates what the opposition’s mantra has been for months: “Cease the usurpation, transitional government and free elections”.

The reduction of aid to Central America takes place in full wave of arrival of migrant families from that region, which has also hardened the conditions of asylum in a way that practically makes them the impossible option: the majority of applicants who have gone through another before the US will be excluded, which affects the thousands of foreigners who cross Mexico to reach the US border.

Last March Trump announced that he would reduce foreign aid to Central America precisely in retaliation for what he considered to be a lack of effort to control the departure of migrants to the United States. The State Department did not hesitate to send a letter to Congress in which it reported to implement the president’s decision and “finalize the foreign aid programs for the Northern Triangle corresponding to fiscal years 2017 and 2018”, that is, that these were already approved aid.

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