PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – The United States says it is providing US$1.6 million to Trinidad and Tobago to assist Venezuelans fleeing the economic and political situation in that South American country.
A statement issued by the US Embassy here said that the funds have been made available through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and that representatives of the Trinidad and Tobago government, civil society groups met here over the past three days “to determine how the US can assist the people of Trinidad and Tobago in managing the impacts of the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
“It was decided that programs using the US$1.6 million will begin by September, and will focus on strengthening community resilience and capacity to address the recent influx of Venezuelan refugees and migrants to Trinidad and Tobago.
“Funds will not be distributed directly to persons in need, but will be used to assist the people of Trinidad and Tobago as they assist the people of Venezuela who have been forced to flee their homeland,” the Embassy said.
Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM), have adopted a position of non-interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela where Opposition Leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president is seeking to remove President Nicolas Maduro from office.
Washington and several other countries, mainly in the west, have backed Guaido, while Maduro, who was sworn into office for a second consecutive term in January, is backed by Russia, China and Cuba among other countries.
The US statement quoting United Nations, said that over three million Venezuelans have fled their country since 2015.
“Over the past two years, the United States has given or allocated more than US$150 million in assistance to help countries in the region manage the impacts of the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela,” the statement said.