By Guido Lanfranchi.
On June 4th, 2019, Ms. Bonnie Glick, Deputy Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, visited the Gelderland Warehouse, which supplies humanitarian health kits for the crisis in Venezuela.
While The Hague’s World Forum was hosting the prestigious Global Entrepreneurship Forum, around 75 kilometers away a high-level level US official was on an official visit to The Medical Export Group, a Dutch medical company located in Vuren. The MEG is a company specialized in the provision of healthcare assistance to low- and middle-income countries, and it has a long-standing tradition of collaboration with governmental and intergovernmental organization, including the United Nations.
On June 4th, the company’s Gelderland Warehouse opened its doors to an unusual host: Mr. Bonnie Glick, Deputy Administrator of USAID, the United States Agency for International Development. Ms. Glick’s official visit to the warehouse sends a clear political signal, since the MEG is currently working on the provision of humanitarian health kits for the crisis affecting Venezuela.
The United States administration has recently been active and vocal on the crisis unfolding in Venezuela. With the aim of addressing the country’s humanitarian crisis, the United States has sought to supply humanitarian assistance inside Venezuela, although the harsh disputes between the Trump administration and the Maduro government have constituted a major obstacle in this regard. Specifically, Maduro and his government have repeatedly denied the existence of a humanitarian crisis, downplaying the US’ willingness to provide aid as a façade move.
The US administration has redirected its assistance towards the region. According to USAID figures, over the fiscal years 2017-2019 the US government has allocated over US$ 200 million to humanitarian funding for the Venezuela regional crisis response, with almost half of this sum coming from USAID. Much of the assistance has been directed to a number of regional countries, including the neighboring Colombia, Brazil, and Guyana. Moreover, US$ 20 million worth of material has been pre-positioned in Colombia, “so they are ready to reach Venezuela as soon as possible” – USAID says in its factsheets. The support provided by the US takes different forms, ranging from health assistance to food support.
Ms. Glick’s visit to the Gelderland Warehouse thus reinforces the US’ commitment to continue addressing the Venezuelan crisis, in spite of the persisting political disagreements between the two countries’ governments.