Ivanka Trump Visits Venezuelan Migrant Camp in Colombia

(Bloomberg) -- Ivanka Trump visited a migrant camp in Colombia on Wednesday as part of an official U.S. delegation, as Washington boosts humanitarian assistance for the millions of people who have fled Venezuela’s collapsing economy.

The Trump administration will increase assistance by $120 million to provide emergency food and health care to Venezuelans throughout the region, according to State Department officials. That brings the total donated by the U.S. to address the crisis since 2017 to $376 million, they said.

At the same time it donates aid for migrants, the U.S. government has accelerated Venezuela’s economic collapse by imposing ever tighter sanctions aimed at forcing President Nicolas Maduro from power.

Ivanka Trump, who is an adviser to her father, President Donald Trump, visited Cucuta on Wednesday -- a Colombian border city that is the first destination for many migrants leaving Venezuela by land. She was joined by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan.

Sullivan and Ivanka Trump are making diplomatic visits to Colombia, Paraguay and Argentina this week. In Cucuta, they met with Julio Borges, an aide to Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has been recognized by the U.S. and more than 50 other countries as Venezuela’s rightful head of state.

Sullivan reiterated the U.S.’s support of Guaido, saying “we are determined to not yield in our commitment.”

Ivanka Trump paid tribute to the female Venezuelan leaders, calling them “warriors.” She also met with Venezuelan women who had crossed into Colombia, some seeking health care they couldn’t access in their home country. The shelter -- Centro de Atencion al Migrante -- was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Venezuelans trekking across the Andes on foot have become a common sight on Colombia’s highways, as have families asking for money on the streets of Bogota and other South American capitals.

Colombian Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez visited the migrant center with the American delegation. When asked whether the U.S. is doing enough, Ramirez said: “I have to say sincerely the U.S. government is the one doing the best but it never is enough.”

Ramirez urged European nations to match U.S. sanctions on the Maduro regime.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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