Washington D.C. – Earlier this month, Lead Republican Michael McCaul (R-TX) joined Members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and House Committee on the Judiciary for a Congressional Delegation to the Colombia-Venezuela border and El Salvador. The purpose of the CODEL was to assess the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and its affect on neighboring Colombia. In El Salvador, the delegation reviewed U.S. assistance programs aimed at addressing the economic and security challenges that form the root causes of illegal migration to the United States.

Bogotá, Colombia

Lead Republican McCaul and the Congressional Delegation met with Colombian President Ivan Duque at Casa de Nariño in Bogotá, Colombia. The meeting was an important and timely opportunity to discuss the value of the U.S.-Colombia relationship and reaffirm our shared commitment to countering the drug trade, enhancing citizen security and responding to the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis.

Following the meeting, Lead Republican McCaul and Chairman Engel released a joint statement highlighting the importance of the U.S.-Colombia relationship.

Cúcuta , Colombia

Lead Republican McCaul visited Venezuelan migrants at La Divina Providencia Soup Kitchen where he had the opportunity to hear from families who were forced to flee their home country as a result of the manmade crisis caused by Nicolas Maduro’s regime.

Lead Republican McCaul and members of the CODEL met with the Catholic Arch Bishop and his staff who run the La Divina Providencia Soup Kitchen to provide food for the Venezuelan migrants displaced by the crisis.

Lead Republican McCaul and members of the CODEL visited Simon Bolivar Bridge where thousands of Venezuelan migrants cross into Colombia each day. Members joined members of the Venezuelan National Assembly to witness firsthand the realities of the humanitarian crisis at the border.

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Lead Republican McCaul participated in a press conference at the Simon Bolivar Bridge and condemned the illegitimate Maduro regime and its Cuban and Russian backers. He also reaffirmed U.S. support for interim President Guaido and the commitment of the United States to bringing freedom and democracy back to the people of Venezuela.

“This is a very important trip for us, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans to stand with the people of Venezuela. This is the worst humanitarian & refugee crisis in the Western Hemisphere. We need to do everything to provide assistance to the people.”

“There is only one man to blame for all this pain and suffering and that is Maduro. Maduro must go.”

Lead Republican McCaul met with Colombian Ambassador to the U.S., Francisco Santos, and other key representatives of interim President Juan Guaido’s government to discuss the deepening political, economic, and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. Later, McCaul and members of the delegation toured La Tienditas warehouse where U.S. humanitarian supplies set for distribution to Venezuelan migrants are stored. 

San Salvador, El Salvador

The Congressional Delegation toured the Bridges to Employment Software Development Center – a USAID-funded project that provides vulnerable youth with marketable skills and employment opportunities in the country’s burgeoning technology sector. Lead Republican McCaul spoke with U.S. Ambassador Jean Manes where she explained how the program has deterred children at-risk from joining gangs such as MS-13 and instead pursue careers contribute to El Salvador’s economic prosperity.

Later, McCaul and members of the CODEL received a presentation by the Transnational Anti-Gang Task Force (TAG), a 50-man FBI-trained and INL-funded Salvadoran anti-gang task force, and the Programa Contra los Programas (PCP), an FBI/INL initiative that supports Salvadoran law enforcement investigations to disrupt and dismantle gangs. Additionally the group heard from the Grupo Conjunto Intelligencia Fronteriza (GCIF), a multinational border intelligence group that includes Salvadoran, Guatemalan, Honduran, Mexican, and USG personnel that allows U.S. law enforcement to check the criminal histories of suspected gang members entering into or already in the United States.

Lead Republican McCaul and the delegation met with the Mayor of San Salvador, Ernesto Muyshondt to discuss how the city is working to recapture public spaces from gangs and revitalize them for public use. Additionally, the group held a private meeting with President-Elect of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, who expressed his unwavering commitment to working with the United States in every way possible to address the migration crisis.

Washington D.C.

CODEL After-Action

As a result of the Congressional Delegation, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing titled, The Importance of U.S. Assistance to Central America, to review the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance to the Northern Triangle countries of Central America and address the serious economic and security challenges that are threatening the region’s stability and driving illegal migration to the United States.

For more on the hearing, click here

For Lead Republican McCaul’s opening remarks at the hearing, click here.

For Lead Republican McCaul’s questioning of witnesses, click here. 


Additionally, following the Congressional Delegation to Latin America, Lead Republican McCaul joined Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State James Baker, and Venezuelan Ambassador Carlos Vecchio for an event in Houston, TX to address the ongoing crisis in Venezuela and participate in listening session with the victims of Nicolas Maduro’s brutal regime. McCaul had the opportunity to sit down with families of the six CITGO executives, four of whom are Texans, being held hostage in Venezuela. 

For a readout on the event from Lead Republican McCaul, click here