WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance and Development (VERDAD) Act, is a comprehensive bill sponsored by New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez and cosponsored by a bipartisan group of legislators. The VERDAD Act seeks to support democracy in Venezuela and expand humanitarian aid and assistance to its people. This act would bolster U.S. efforts to resolve the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela while working to restore peace and democracy in the country. Here are six facts about the VERDAD Act.
6 Facts About the VERDAD Act
- The VERDAD Act would authorize hundreds of millions in humanitarian assistance for Venezuela. The bill appropriates $400 million in additional humanitarian aid for the fiscal year of 2020. This would include basic food and nutritional supplements, along with medicine and basic medical supplies. The aid would also be used to support public health infrastructure, and technical assistance to ensure the proper selection, handling and distribution of food items.
- The bill would direct the U.S. State Department to work with Venezuelan NGOs to defend human rights and strengthen democracy in the country. Within the framework of the VERDAD Act, the U.S. State Department will work directly with NGOs in the country to strengthen and support democracy and democratic institutions in the country, which includes the National Assembly of Venezuela. They will also work together to defend human rights in Venezuela, as well as support efforts to document human rights violations and crimes against humanity.
- Together with NGOs in Venezuela, the U.S. State Department will work to support independent media outlets in Venezuela and their efforts to share and broadcast information. This will ensure that the people of Venezuela have access to news and media sources that are free and independently run.
- The bill specifically designates aid to Venezuelans that live abroad. The bill states that the humanitarian assistance appropriated to Venezuela in the bill can also be provided to Venezuelans living in neighboring countries, the Caribbean and other Venezuelan communities abroad. The bill also specifies that the aid focus on the most vulnerable Venezuelans living in neighboring states.
- The bill would establish a coordinated international effort led by the Secretary of State to recover assets that have been stolen from the people of Venezuela and its institutions. The efforts would include special financial investigations that would track and identify assets stolen through illicit means, such as money laundering theft, and corruption.
- The VERDAD Act stresses that the U.S. should peacefully address the humanitarian crisis. It reaffirms the U.S.’s policy as focused towards diplomatic engagement and negotiation in order to peacefully resolve the multifaceted economic, humanitarian and political crisis occurring in the country.
The VERDAD Act is an effort to direct U.S. foreign policy to put an end to the crisis in Venezuela by providing the people of Venezuela with increased humanitarian assistance while also fighting for peace and democracy in the country. Not only does the bill provide assistance to Venezuela, but it also provides funding to Venezuelan refugees and communities living in neighboring countries and the Caribbean. The act is currently on the House floor for discussion. The VERDAD Act confirms that the U.S. stands with the people of Venezuela and will work to put an end to the humanitarian, economic and political crisis in the country.
– Nicholas Bykov