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Washington has tried to exploit humanitarian aid for political ends, audit finds

According to an audit by the Inspector General of the United States Agency for Development, an American aid operation to Venezuela in 2019 did not fully respect certain humanitarian principles, such as “neutrality”.

In February 2019, the Venezuelan army intervened to block humanitarian aid at the Colombian border, mainly from the United States and which was to enter the territory via allies of the opponent Juan Guaido. Caracas then denounced an attack on its sovereignty. President Maduro also viewed this aid as a Trojan horse in order to justify a military intervention referred to at the time by the Trump administration.

Two years later, the humanitarian aid agency involved in this operation publicly considered that it had not been carried out in full respect of humanitarian principles.

This deployment of humanitarian aid, reports the Inspector General of the United States Agency for International Development in an audit published in mid-April 2021, was not “fully aligned” with its own principles of “neutrality” and “independence” and did not rely fully on local “needs assessments”.

As Reuters recalls, this affair on the Colombian-Venezuelan border erupted a few weeks after the Trump administration unilaterally recognized the opponent Juan Guaido as Venezuelan head of state and supported the creation of a “government Interim supposed to take the place of the official government chaired by Nicolas Maduro. However, during the case of humanitarian aid at the border, the leaders of the United States Agency for International Development instructed their officials to adapt their decisions to “strengthening the credibility of the interim government” of Venezuela, according to the audit. In other words, a political mission has been assigned to this humanitarian operation.

According to the same source, the American agency asked its representatives to reduce aid from United Nations agencies because this organization was accused by Washington of sympathy for Maduro’s executive.

Venezuela not closed to international aid

In addition, the report indicates that of the 368 tons of humanitarian materials sent to the Colombian-Venezuelan border, only eight entered Venezuela, the rest having been finally distributed in Colombia or sent to Somalia.

However, according to Reuters, the Venezuelan government did not ban all humanitarian aid deployments in the country thereafter. To help it cope with the economic crisis hitting Venezuelan society hard, Caracas, for example, signed this April an agreement with the World Food Program to benefit some 185,000 children this year and 1.5 million of them at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.

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