The United States approved on Tuesday to allocate, “with immediate effect,” 2.5 million dollars to the assistance of Venezuelans fleeing to Colombia. The drift of the regime of Nicolás Maduro has caused in recent months a massive flight, which has led to a humanitarian emergency on the border between the two countries, especially in the city of Cúcuta. These funds, in addition to the contribution of 36.5 million that the Administration of Donald Trump reserved to support the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the region, fall on the organizations that provide food and health assistance to the tens of thousands of Venezuelans who arrive daily in Colombia.
The massive exodus of Venezuelans fleeing to Colombia has become in recent months a humanitarian emergency that affects both countries, which share some 2,200 kilometers of border. It is under the regime of Nicolás Maduro, because of the structural shortage that hits the population. And it is on the other side of the Táchira or Arauca rivers, where the impact of migratory flows, which increased by 110% last year, is increasingly difficult to sustain, according to local authorities. Around 550,000 people, with visa and without papers, arrived with the intention of staying in Colombia. That figure, according to official estimates, can reach one million in July. The colombian president Santos explained that military control will be reinforced at border crossingsand on the trails, the most remote roads become the usual routes of contraband, crime and human trafficking. At the same time, the authorities seek to regulate the entry of Venezuelans in a “controlled, orderly and within the law” manner.
The Spanish Foreign Minister, Alfonso Dastis, announced that Spain will respond ” with proportionality and reciprocity”, after Venezuela declared as persona non grata the Spanish ambassador in Caracas, Jesús Silva Fernández. The statements were made in the Swiss city of Davos, where Dastis attends the World Economic Forum. The head of Spanish diplomacy rejected accusations of “interference” proffered by the Venezuelan government, since the only thing that Spain has done since the beginning is “help the process” of negotiations between government and opposition, reported Efe.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Thursday that the improvement of the Mexican economy expected for 2018 will include a deceleration of inflation and highlighted the exit of the recession in Brazil, but warned about the electoral uncertainty and projected a new collapse in Venezuela this year. The IMF gave more details of an advance of its updated prospects for Latin America that it published this week, in which it raised its economic estimates for Mexico and Brazil based on the expansion in the United States and the rise in the prices of raw materials. In Mexico, the Washington-based agency said that “inflation is projected to drop drastically in 2018 as the effect of the increase in domestic prices for fuel last year fades.” The Fund did not provide projections of price developments.
The President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro, assured that the group of insurgent officials that was dismantled on Monday after a confrontation that left at least two deaths prepared an attack with a “car bomb” and was financed from Colombia. “We learned that they had prepared a car bomb to exploit it before an embassy of a beloved and prestigious country that has its representation here,” said Maduro during the presentation of his Report and Account 2017 to the National Constituent Assembly (ANC).
Venezuela has ottenied easier debt terms from Russia and got a vote of confidence from China on Wednesday, as the oil-rich country said it had starting making interest payments on bonds after a delay that had threatened to trigger a default. A debt restructuring deal with Russia that allows Caracas to make “minimal” payments to Moscow in the next six years, together with a separate statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry that Venezuela was capable of handing the debt issue “appropriately”. It was underlined that the reserve of support its socialist government enjoys of easy measures from both two countries. Venezuela has borrowed billions of dollars from Russia and China over the years, primarily through oil-for-loan deals. The two countries could provide a lifeline to Venezuela as it seeks to keep its deeply depressed economy solvent, even as U.S. and European sanctions target the government of President Nicolas Maduro. On Wednesday, the Economy Ministry said it had started transferring $200 million in interest payments on those bonds, which mature in 2019 and 2024.
President Donald Trump on Sunday slapped new travel restrictions on citizens from North Korea, Venezuela and Chad, expanding to eight the list of countries covered by his original travel bans that have been derided by critics and challenged in court. Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia were left on the list of affected countries in a new proclamation issued by the president. Restrictions on citizens from Sudan were lifted. The measures help fulfill a campaign promise Trump made to tighten U.S. immigration procedures and align with his “America First” foreign policy vision. Unlike the president’s original bans, which had time limits, this one is open-ended.