Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
September 22, 2021
Thank you, Andrea.
On behalf of the United States, I would like to thank President Duque for convening this important event with support from UNHCR and IOM. I also reaffirm our gratitude to the governments and citizens of the 17 countries throughout the region that generously host the nearly 5.7 million forcibly displaced Venezuelans. Despite the ravaging impacts of COVID-19 in your countries, you continue to welcome and support Venezuelan refugees and migrants.
The United States remains committed to assisting the Venezuelan people, those who have been forced to leave Venezuela, the host communities that support them, and those who remain in Venezuela enduring a worsening crisis.
Today, I am pleased to announce more than $336 million in new U.S. government humanitarian, economic, development, and health assistance for the response to the Venezuela regional crisis, including inside Venezuela. This adds to the nearly $407 million Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced at the International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants on June 17. This brings the total U.S. Government contribution towards this crisis response to more $1.9 billion since 2017, including more than $1.65 billion in life-saving humanitarian assistance. This new funding will provide the Venezuelan people with a wide range of lifesaving assistance. The United States will continue to work with host governments in the region to ensure protection mechanisms are in place, including access to asylum and legal status.
I want to recognize the important decision taken by the Government of Colombia to grant 10-year temporary protective status for Venezuelans. Since the registration process began in May, more than 1.2 million Venezuelans have registered. The United States is proud to support the Colombian government’s important effort, and we thank our partners UNHCR and IOM for their continued assistance in this process. I am heartened to see other host governments in the region take concrete steps to regularize and integrate Venezuelans living in their countries. I want to recognize the Government of Ecuador for its recent announcement that it would extend regular status to nearly 50 percent of the 430,000 Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the country who remain in an irregular status.
The international community’s shared commitment to assist the Venezuelan people was evident at the June 17 donors’ conference, which secured over $1.5 billion in pledged grants and loans from traditional and new donors. Events like today’s are important in continuing to raise visibility of the protracted crisis in Venezuela, ensuring that vulnerable Venezuelans are not forgotten amid other global crises, including Afghanistan. And so, I also want to take this opportunity to thank those countries in the region who have offered assistance to resettle fleeing Afghans, while also hosting Venezuelans.
We know that humanitarian assistance will help alleviate some humanitarian suffering of the Venezuelan people but will not – and cannot – address the root causes of Venezuela’s instability. The United States will continue to look for ways to coordinate our efforts with others, including many of you here today, to ensure the most comprehensive response possible.
Thank you very much.