We had a very constructive meeting today with Venezuelan political leaders, who we’re here to support, to learn from, to reaffirm the commitment of the United States to support them and the people of Venezuela given the political and economic crisis created across the border by the Maduro regime, which has left Venezuela facing an unprecedented level of suffering.  Living conditions inside Venezuela have deteriorated greatly.  Maternal mortality has risen by 65 percent, 94 percent of households are living in poverty, and 90 percent of hospitals are reporting shortages of medicine and critical supplies; 4.3 million Venezuelans have fled.

The United States commends Interim President Juan Guaido and the national assembly for working hard to address this humanitarian crisis.  We stand with you and we’re determined to not yield in our commitment.  And on that basis, I can announce today that the United States is providing an additional $120 million in humanitarian assistance.  This assistance brings the United States contribution to the Venezuelan regional crisis response to more than $376 million since Fiscal Year 2017.

I’ll now turn it over to my friend and colleague, USAID Administrator Ambassador Mark Green, to provide some additional detail about this assistance.  But before I do, I also want to commend the Government of Colombia for supporting the nearly 1.5 million Venezuelans who have fled Colombia – excuse me, fled to Colombia.  As Secretary Pompeo acknowledged earlier this year, and I quote, “Colombia’s long democratic tradition makes it a natural leader on regional efforts to restore democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela.”  During our time here in Colombia, we had the opportunity to thank President Duque and his cabinet for their leadership and their support for all those who have fled oppression in Venezuela.

Speaking of natural leaders, I am honored and inspired to meet here today with brave women and men who have – who are – dedicated their lives to restoring peace and democracy to Venezuela.  The United States Government believes strongly that when women participate in peace processes, society reaps the benefit.  Your courage, your sacrifice, your dedication to freedom is an inspiration to us all.  The United States stands with you as you continue to work toward a better future for the people of Venezuela.  Thank you very much, and I’ll now turn it over to my colleague, Ambassador (inaudible).

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