The European Union has pledged another €5 million in humanitarian assistance for crisis-wracked Venezuela, one day after 19 Member States announced their support for opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president of the country in January.
In a statement about the extra financial assistance EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said: “Helping the Venezuelan people in need is a priority for the European Union. We are stepping up our emergency aid to help the most vulnerable who lack access to food, medicines and basic services and have been forced to leave their homes. We will also continue to support Venezuelans and host communities in neighbouring countries.”
The money, which comes on top of € 34 million, granted to Venezuela by the EU in 2018, will be used “to help facilitate humanitarian assistance to partners on the ground.” The Commission also said that it intends to open a humanitarian office in Caracas.
The news of the extra assistance comes one day after 19 EU countries recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela.
The EU had given Socialist President Nicolas Maduro until Sunday to announce an early presidential election. A move that was rejected by Maduro as an attempt by the EU to force [Venezuela] into an extreme situation of confrontation.”
The EU, however, remains divided: Italy has blocked a joint EU statement, according to diplomatic sources in Brussels.
Caracas has announced that it will “fully re-evaluate” its diplomatic relations with European countries that have recognized Juan Guaido, accusing them of supporting “putschist plans” and following a “US scheme”.
On Monday, Canada also pledged 53 million Canadian dollars (35 million euros) worth of aid to the Venezuela, adding to the 20 million dollars in aid announced by Washington.
According to the EU five years of recession and hyperinflation have caused a collapse of the health and education systems, scarcity of food and medicines, as well as violence and insecurity. Disease and malnutrition have had a particularly severe impact on children, women, elderly people and indigenous populations.