In Venezuela, once again, the debate is opening on the humanitarian aid that is sent from abroad and administered by the political opposition of the South American country, led by former deputy Juan Guaidó, who hasn’t accounted for the destination of the funds.
The discussion heated up after Venezuelan media published parts of a report by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), in which the US institution revealed that it didn’t know the whereabouts of the funds delivered.
The report, titled “Enhanced Processes and Implementer Requirements Necessary for the Challenges and Risks of Fraud in USAID’s Response to Venezuela,” was published last April; however, the local Venezuelan media have hardly published about it in recent days.
According to USAID, its funding amounted to $ 507 million for fiscal years 2017-2019, of which $ 260 million was for “humanitarian assistance” and $ 247 million for “development assistance.”
These funds were destined for the Venezuelan opposition to be invested in their country and also for other nations, such as Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago, which in the opinion of the US institution, provide “a response to the regional crisis of Venezuela”.
Aid in Colombia and sent to Somalia
The humanitarian assistance was administered by the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the Office of Food for Peace (FFP), and the Office for Latin America and the Caribbean ( LAC Office) of USAID.
In the report, USAID refers to a specific case and notes that OFDA and FFP spent approximately 2 million dollars to purchase and transport 368 metric tons of humanitarian products to the border between Colombia and Venezuela and Curaçao, from February 2019 to April 2019.
But, he notes, “by August 2019, only 8 metric tons of products were delivered to Venezuela, and the remaining 360 metric tons were either distributed within Colombia or shipped to Somalia.”
In other words, only 2% of humanitarian aid reached the hands of those in need, while the remaining 98% had uses other than its original purposes.
According to the US agency, “an in-kind grant agreement” was also signed with Guaidó in February 2019 to provide $ 334,000 in humanitarian items for transportation from Cúcuta, Colombia, to Venezuela.
The attempt to pass this alleged humanitarian aid occurred on February 23, 2019, but a day before, the Venezuelan Government ordered the closure of the border, due to threats and in the face of what President Nicolás Maduro classified as a “cheap show.”
That day, one of the trucks was burned and the Venezuelan opposition attributed it to the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB); however, it was later discovered that it was a false flag, since the fire was started by the same opponents. According to USAID, there were losses of $ 34,000 in products at the time.
What was in the “humanitarian” truck, only scrap metal that they used to throw at the Venezuelan security forces
Likewise, USAID reproached that “not all these humanitarian products were previously placed on the basis of needs assessments.” For example, he adds, ready-to-use complementary foods were included that the OFDA and FFP “had already determined were unnecessary, because the nutritional status of Venezuelan children didn’t justify their use at that time.” This is not the first scandal in around resources managed by Guaidó and other Venezuelan opposition leaders.
In mid-June 2019, the so-called ‘cucutazo’ case was known, which referred to Guaidó’s representatives appropriating funds for humanitarian aid from the US, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Argentina, Chile , Colombia, Puerto Rico and the European Commission, as well as the funds raised during a concert held in Cúcuta.
In the video, the now president of the National Assembly of Venezuela shows the evidence of the robbery, what they called the “Cucutazo”
The self-styled “interim government”, led by Guaidó, in addition to humanitarian aid, manages funds from Venezuelan public companies abroad, including CITGO Petroleum Corporation and Monómeros Colombo Venezolanos, but so far it hasn’t presented an account on the use of those resources to anyone.