A Whole of Government Approach to Supporting the Democratic Aspirations of the Venezuelan People
What’s going on in Venezuela?
Political freedom is at risk. Since Nicolas Maduro came to power in 2013, he has been eroding democracy and limiting the Venezuelan people’s ability to participate in free and fair elections. In the fraudulent May 20, 2018 presidential election, Maduro jailed or banned prominent political leaders, used food as a tool for social control, and manipulated the timeline to his advantage. The elections were riddled with irregularities ranging from intimidation and disenfranchisement of voters to improper tabulation of the results.
The economy is quickly spiraling downward. Inflation is projected to hit 1 million percent by the end of 2018 and the minimum monthly wage is equal to about $1 on the black market. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, but mismanagement of the state-owned oil company, PDVSA, has resulted in significant deterioration of infrastructure and production capacity. What was once one of Latin America’s strongest economies is now unable to support itself.
As a result of the political and economic crises, there is a growing humanitarian crisis. Unable to choose their government at the ballot box, Venezuelans are using their feet to vote. More than two million Venezuelans have left their country since 2016 and nearly 280,000 have applied for asylum globally since 2014. Within the country, a severe shortage of food and medical supplies has resulted in the average Venezuelan losing 24 pounds and around 90 percent of hospitals are without basic medical necessities. People in Venezuela are facing disrupted water and sanitation services and there are serious public health concerns following outbreaks of once eradicated diseases in the region. In July 2018, nurses went on strike for almost a month demanding provisions and supplies for the hospitals.
How is the United States trying to help?
1. Diplomatic engagement: The U.S. is working alongside regional partners to help Venezuelans return their country to a prosperous democracy and hold the Venezuelan government accountable for the current political, economic, and humanitarian crises. At the Organization of American States, we sponsored a resolution suspending Venezuela from the organization for violating the hemisphere’s democratic principles. On June 5, 2018, the resolution succeeded in garnering 88 percent of member states either abstaining from or voting in favor of Venezuela’s suspension.
a. On May 17, November 13, 2017 and September 10, 2018 Ambassador Nikki Haley convened informal UN Security Council sessions on Venezuela to raise awareness of the ongoing political, economic, and humanitarian crises and highlighted the potential threat to international peace and security.
2. Economic action: In order to prevent the U.S. from becoming complicit in the corruption within the Maduro regime, the U.S. has designated more than sixty individuals pursuant to Executive Order 13692 and the Kingpin Act as of July 2018. On November 1, President Trump signed a new Executive Order to counter rampant corruption within the Government of Venezuela, which continues to exacerbate the economic and humanitarian crises afflicting the Venezuelan people. These sanctions also serve to encourage the Venezuelan government to take steps in returning to a democratic system. The Department of State provides critical foreign policy information to the Department of Treasury so it can implement specific, targeted sanctions that focus on those engaged in criminal activity. U.S. sanctions still allow U.S. person to provide food, medicine, and other humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people. A valuable part of U.S. strategy is allowing sanctions to be adjusted for those who support Venezuela’s return to a democratic constitutional path. However, additional measures remain under active consideration.
3. Humanitarian assistance: The Venezuelan people are experiencing increasing hardships, including diminishing access to affordable food, vital medicine, and medical supplies. The assistance address both short-term and long-term needs. In the short-term, it provides emergency food and health assistance, safe drinking water, and critical relief items. In the long-term, the United States is supporting efforts to improve food security and create economic opportunities for surrounding communities. More than two million people have fled Venezuela since 2016, straining the health care systems and other social services of Venezuela’s neighbors. Here are just a couple of ways the U.S. is assisting:
a. Providing development and humanitarian assistance for the Venezuelan crisis totaling more than 71 million since Fiscal Year 2017.
b. USAID is providing emergency assistance for Venezuelans and host communities in Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru.
c. For more information about the United States' humanitarian assistance, please visit: https://www.usaid.gov/program-update-hub/venezuela-regional-crisis-response.
An additional $9 million in humanitarian aid for Venezuelans in Colombia was recently announced during a recent trip taken by the U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, Nikki Haley.
Speeches and Remarks by U.S. Government Officials On Venezuela
- Februay 4, 2019 Recognition of Juan Guaido as Venezuela's Interim President by Several European Countries
- January 29, 2019 Protecting Venezuela's Assets for Benefit of Venezuelan People
- January 28, 2019 Statement by Secretary Pompeo on Sanctions Against PDVSA and Venezuela Oil Sector
- January 27, 2019 Statement by Secretary Pompeo on the Representative of the Government of Venezuela to the United States
- January 26, 2019 Remarks by Secretary Pompeo at a United Nations Security Council Meeting on Venezuela
- January 26, 2019 Remarks by Secretary Pompeo Before a Procedural Vote at a UN Security Council Meeting on Venezuela
- January 26, 2019 Remarks by Secretary Pompeo at a Press Stakeout
- January 25, 2019 Secretary Pompeo's Interview With Gustau Alegret of NTN24
- January 25, 2019 Remarks by Secretary Pompeo on Venezuela
- January 24, 2019 Remarks by Secretary Pompeo at OAS on Venezuela
- January 24, 2019 United States Is Ready To Provide Urgent Humanitarian Aid to the People of Venezuela
- January 23, 2019 Statement by Secretary Pompeo on Continuing U.S. Diplomatic Presence in Venezuela
- January 23, 2019 Statement by Secretary Pompeo on Recognition of Juan Guaido as Venezuela's Interim President
- December 7, 2018 U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Breier: We’re fighting for justice for Venezuelans
- November 5, 2018 Remarks by National Security Advisor Ambassador John R. Bolton on the Administration's Policies in Latin America
- October 12, 2018 Statement by Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin Following the Fourth Finance Ministers’ Meeting on Venezuela
- September 25, 2018 Remarks by Vice President Pence at the Regional Migration and Humanitarian Crisis — Flows from Venezuela Event
- September 10, 2018 Venezuela as Case Study of Corruption, Peace, and Security - Arria-Formula Meeting of the Security Council
- August 17, 2018 Statement from Press Secretary: Maduro Regime Crackdown Following August 4 Incident
- July 5, 2018 Secretary Pompeo, Venezuela’s Independence Day
- June 4, 2018 Secretary Pompeo, Remarks at the General Assembly of the Organization of the American States
- May 26, 2018 Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding the Release of Joshua Holt
- May 21, 2018 Secretary Pompeo Press Statement: An Unfair, Unfree Vote in Venezuela
- May 21, 2018 Statement from President Donald J. Trump on the Maduro Regime in Venezuela
- May 21, 2018 Statement from Vice President Mike Pence on Venezuela’s Elections
- May 21, 2018 Executive Order Prohibiting Certain Additional Transactions with Respect to Venezuela
- May 7, 2018 Remarks by Vice President Pence During a Protocolary Meeting at the Organization of American States
- April 30, 2018 Ambassador Carlos Trujillo Remarks OAS Special Meeting of the Permanent Council
- April 19, 2018 Statement by Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin Following Meeting on Venezuela
- April 15, 2018 Remarks by Vice President Pence in Meeting with Venezuelan Opposition Leaders
- April 15, 2018 Remarks by Vice President Pence at First Plenary Session of the Summit of the Americas
- April 14, 2018 Remarks by Administrator Mark Green on Humanitarian Assistance for Venezuela
- April 13, 2018 AA/S Palmieri Remarks on Venezuela Humanitarian Aid; Chief of Mission Residence; Lima, Peru
- February 23, 2018 Remarks by Interim U.S. PermRep Sullivan at Special Session of the OAS Permanent Council on Resolution on Venezuela
- August 23, 2017 Remarks by the Vice President on Latin America
Venezuela-Related Sanctions, U.S. Department of the Treasury
- Over 50 Venezuelan individuals have been designated by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, cutting them off from the U.S. financial system, including President Maduro and Executive Vice President El Aissami.
- Designations include leaders from the National Electoral Council, Supreme Court, Executive, military, policy, and the illegitimate Constituent National Assembly.
For more information on Venezuela-related sanctions, click here.