Venezuela to Get $400Mn in 'Humanitarian Aid' From US Senate

© AP Photo / Chairman of the Joint ChiefsUS Senate Foreign Relations Committee
US Senate Foreign Relations Committee - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance and Development (VERDAD) Act that would provide $400 million in humanitarian assistance to Venezuela, Senator Bob Menendez said in a statement.

"Update: VERDAD Act passes out of committee", Menendez said via Twitter. "This is the most comprehensive effort to confront the crisis in Venezuela. We've set up the structure for the Trump [administration] to boost [Venezuela's] democracy movement — doubling humanitarian aid [and] expanding sanctions against [President Nicolas] Maduro's officials".

Menendez explained that the measure would also reaffirm US support for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido and the opposition-led National Assembly, and establish US policy to pursue "a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the Venezuelan crisis".

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Guaido's envoy to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, said the legislation will help advance the objective to achieve the transition of government in Venezuela.

National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello gestures before addressing the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela - Sputnik International
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The measure seeks to revoke visas for relatives of Venezuelans sanctioned for human rights abuses and lift sanctions on individuals not involved in human rights violations if they pledge their support to self-proclaimed Venezuela's interim president Guaido.

In addition, the measure requires the Trump administration to cooperate with Latin American and European governments to enforce their own sanctions.

The act also appeals to the US government to "repurpose the corrupt financial holdings" of Venezuelan authorities and pursues to engage in the reconstruction of Venezuela’s economy in cooperation with international financial institutions. The bill is now headed to the full Senate for a vote.

READ MORE: How US Sanctions on Venezuela are Threatening the Lives of Sick Children

Venezuela Permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Jorge Valero poses between photographs of President Nicolas Maduro (L) and late President Hugo Chavez during a interview with AFP, at the permanent mission in Geneva on April 16, 2019 - Sputnik International
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The situation in Venezuela has remained tense since January when opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim president. Washington and its allies endorsed Guaido and called on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to step down. Moreover, the United States seized billions of dollars’ worth of Venezuelan oil assets.

Maduro, in turn, has accused the United States of trying to orchestrate a coup in order to install Guaido as its puppet and take over Venezuela’s natural resources. Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia, Turkey and a number of other countries have voiced their support for constitutionally-elected Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.

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