The State Department is looking into redirecting funding initially meant for Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, or the Northern Triangle as they are known, to Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido, a spokesperson for the department has confirmed.
“Working with Congress, we are exploring reprogramming some of the funding towards promoting democracy in Venezuela, including supporting the interim Guaido government and National Assembly,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
About six months ago, the United States recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s president, supporting him in his efforts to oust President Nicolas Maduro, who remains in office.
“Our programming, existing and planned, is targeted to address the Venezuela crisis. We are investing in good governance, human rights, technical assistance for the Guaido government, independent media, and civil society. The principle objective of our funding for Venezuela aligns with our principle policy objective: to restore democracy to Venezuela,” the spokesperson said.
The funding being reprogrammed is developmental rather than humanitarian assistance, CNN writes, citing the spokesperson. They added that funding by the State Department is regularly adjusted “as priorities evolve” and that it is “technical process tied to our strategic planning so that we spend taxpayer dollars responsibly and in line with Administration priorities.”
The decision is likewise in line with President Donald Trump’s previous statement that the U.S. “will not provide new funds for programs in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.” The State Department noted back in March that funding to these three countries will be withheld until they demonstrate real efforts “to reduce the number of migrants coming to the U.S. border.”
“It’s the case that for years and years and years we’ve provided hundreds of millions of dollars — taxpayer, US taxpayer dollars — to these countries and it, as you can see, hasn’t delivered the outcome we’re looking for with respect to American security and security along our southern border,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is to travel to El Salvador later this week.
The administration will instead redirect funds to Guaido and his team to cover for “their salaries, airfare, ‘good governance’ training, propaganda, technical assistance for holding elections and other ‘democracy-building’ projects.”