WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the Chair Emeritus of the Committee, today welcomed USAID’s provision of humanitarian assistance to Venezuelan refugees in Colombia and urged further support. The authors of the House-passed Venezuela Humanitarian Assistance and Defense of Democratic Governance Act of 2017 (H.R.2658) issued the following statement:

“The economic and humanitarian crisis created by Nicolás Maduro and his predecessor has forced Venezuelans to leave the country at an alarming rate, and many of these refugees are living in dire conditions. USAID’s announcement of $2.5 million in assistance for Venezuelan refugees in Colombia is a welcome start. But, much more remains to be done. We urge our partners in South America to provide similar assistance and to open their countries to the many Venezuelans in desperate need. And, we urge USAID to increase assistance to Venezuelan refugees not only in Colombia but also in Brazil and throughout the region. Finally, we call on USAID to provide direct humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people working through credible NGOs and international organizations. It is long past time for the international community to step up and provide much-needed food and medicine to the countless Venezuelans who continue to suffer both inside and outside of the country.”