Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening humanitarian crises and the situation of people who already now are in need of aid. This also applies to the approximately five million Venezuelans who have fled to neighbouring countries to escape the political and economic crisis at home. These host countries are bearing a particularly heavy burden due to the largest migration flow in Latin American history. They urgently need support to provide supplies and accommodation to, and integrate, those who have fled.
A virtual donors conference for more humanitarian assistance
To mobilise more aid for the people and countries that have been affected, a virtual donors conference was held this Tuesday at the invitation of Spain, the European Union, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Heads of State, Ministers, and other high-level representatives from more than 40 countries and international organisations participated in the conference. Germany was represented by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
Germany announces more than 20 million euro in additional funds for Venezuela
During the video conference, Foreign Minister Maas praised Venezuela’s neighbours for their incredible willingness to take people in and announced that Germany will increase its humanitarian assistance this year for those who have been affected by more than 18 million euro. In addition, Germany will increase its contributions to development projects for Venezuela by four million euro. This brings Germany’s total assistance this year for addressing the crisis in Venezuela to more than 50 million euro.
We’re currently witnessing a twofold crisis in Latin America the like of which the continent has never seen before. On the one hand, COVID-19 is spreading at a dramatic pace in Latin America. At the same time, the region around Venezuela is experiencing the greatest refugee crisis in Latin American history, caused by the political and economic crisis into which Maduro has plunged Venezuela.
(Foreign Minister Heiko Maas)
Particularly in view of the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Germany stands in solidarity with Latin America. Next week, as part of the Latin America and Caribbean Initiative of the Federal Foreign Office, Foreign Minister Maas will meet via video conference with Foreign Ministers from the region. The meeting will focus on, among other things, deepening cooperation with a view to overcoming the pandemic.
Foreign Minister Maas: a political solution is needed for the crisis in Venezuela
At the conference, Foreign Minister Maas reminded participants that the current crisis in Venezuela, despite its being worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, ultimately has political origins and can therefore only be resolved by political means. He went on to say that the regime of President Maduro bears full responsibility for the ongoing political crisis in Venezuela, and for the unprecedented economic decline of a country that actually possesses great natural resources.
This is why, he said, Germany supports the proposal of a transitional government that is supported by both sides and would be tasked with preparing presidential and parliamentary elections as well as addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.