Administrator Mark Green's Interview with FOX News

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Interview

For Immediate Release

Thursday, February 21, 2019
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: press@usaid.gov

 
February 20, 2019
USAID Warehouse
Miami, Florida

QUESTION: So, we are hearing that Colombia, and a few of the other countries in the area, are coordinating an aid delivery for Friday. Is the U.S. working with those countries on that?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: I mean, what we're doing is prepositioning assistance. So, that's really what we're trying to do. So, the prepositioning assistance in Cucuta primarily, which is one of the access points. By Friday, it will be 190 metric tons of assistance. That's hygiene kits, emergency medical assistance, emergency nutrition, and food assistance.

And so, what we're trying to do is respond to the request from President Guaidó, the interim president, preposition that assistance, as he requested. And then, we'll see what happens from there. But, we're very hopeful with his new leadership that there will soon be a day in which we can work beside Venezuela and give relief and hope to those long suffering.

QUESTION: And there's a plan to send some of the Venezuelans that have fled back in to the country with aid. Is that an effective tool to disburse aid?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Well, and that really is up to Juan Guaidó, and his people, and his team. As you know, he is the recognized leader of Venezuela. President Trump was the first to recognize him, which was a game-change, quite frankly, in the work that we do.

But, now, 51 nations have recognized Juan Guaidó. And it really is standing with them, and helping them and their plans to restore hope, and freedom, and liberty in Venezuela. So, we're working with them to try to preposition that assistance and give them the tools to lead their people and provide hope.

QUESTION: How much coordination is there between USAID, the administration, and the interim government to get these things in? Like, how does -- walk me through that dynamic.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Well, so, again, I spoke with Juan Guaidó some weeks back. The following day, I met with a number of representatives. They made specific requests, the types of nutritional and medical needs that they had. We've responded by trying to deliver and preposition that assistance. The next step is up to them. They are leading their country's future. I know they're working closely with the Colombians and a number of nations. And that's great.

What we're trying to do is make sure that Juan Guaidó has the tools that he needs to provide hope for his people and for the future of Venezuela. We're very excited. We're very hopeful. When I was walking across the Bolivar Bridge -- obviously, I didn't go into Venezuela -- but walking there, I met a number of Venezuelans who were very optimistic.

They believe that hope is on the way. They believe that that better day is coming. They're very thankful to President Trump. They're very thankful to the American people. They're very excited about what they hope lies ahead.

QUESTION: So, earlier, we were talking about the difference between just, you know, six months ago and your very last trip, days ago.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Right.

QUESTION: Can you describe that, sort of, big change that you've seen?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Well, a couple things. So, first up, on the darker side of things, I think the suffering and the pain in the eyes of Venezuelan migrants is greater than ever. Six months ago, I would meet others who were talking about walking three and four hours to go to Cucuta and seek relief. Now, they're walking three or four days. And they're able to take some children. Other children, sadly, tragically, they're having to leave behind. They simply can't bring them. So, that's the dark side.

I think the really hopeful side is that so many of them have seen with the game change, in terms of recognizing Juan Guaidó, and the mobilization of assistance, as we have done. That they really do see hope. And I heard them calling out and saying, "Freedom is near. Liberty is near. Hope is on the way."

So, that's the big change. On one side, more suffering. On the other side, I think, really hopeful that the moment is coming when Maduro, who has caused all this crisis and suffering, his days are numbered. Hopefully, Maduro will be on his way out.

QUESTION: You've told us a little bit about that dynamic. Can you compare Venezuela to other crises that you have dealt with? How acute is the need there?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Well, first off, a couple of things. So, we've been providing assistance to Venezuelan migrants for the last couple of years. Nearly 4 million Venezuelans have fled Maduro, fled the regime, fled the suffering. So, in that sense, the scale is almost unprecedented. This is the largest mass-migration event in Latin American history, forever. It's unprecedented in that sense.

The other part to it that makes it so different is it's man-made and regime-driven. This is not an earthquake. This is not a hurricane. This is not a tornado or a flood. This is one man and one regime imposing dictatorial rule, imposing suffering, and pain, on people. It's entirely man-made. It doesn't have to be. So, again, we're hopeful that the day is coming when it will all change, and we'll get new leadership, and a better future.

QUESTION: And what are your concerns going forward? What -- you've said, "It's in Guaidó's hands, at this point." What do you foresee some of the obstacles you might come up against?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Well, inside Venezuela, we know that so much has fallen apart. So, we're hearing about most hospitals -- in fact, nearly all hospitals -- not having sufficient medicine. I heard, earlier today, the stories about no X-ray equipment, and lacking the basics that they need to provide care. So, it's also going to be about rebuilding a system, rebuilding the network to make sure that our humanitarian assistance gets to where it needs to go. And not just the capital, but those outlying areas where the pain is so acute.

Also, we're trying to help them rebuild their economy. This is a country that should be a fellow donor. And, yet, because of Maduro's policies, it has gotten intense suffering. So, there's a lot of work ahead, but I think it's fantastic work. The benefits for helping to energize Venezuela are not simply Venezuelan. The entire hemisphere will benefit by a strong economy in Venezuela, by liberty, by people being able to return. It'll certainly be good for U.S. interests, but I think interests of the entire hemisphere.

QUESTION: Great. Is there anything I didn't ask about that you want to address?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Well, so, and I can tell you, I met with a young mother who had left her 7-year-old behind. She brought her infant and toddler children with her, had to leave her 7-year-old behind. And she got to Cucuta. And she was hoping that once she got into Colombia she would be able to send money back for him. And then she just realized she can't. She has no money. And so, the intense despair of not being able to provide for her children -- I mean, the tears were streaming down her cheeks. It was just -- it was terrible to see. So, it's that kind of suffering.

On the positive side, I see so many selfless volunteers, humanitarian workers, doing so much to provide nutrition, to try to provide some hope. So, you see the stories of suffering. But, again, you see the stories of hope, as well.

QUESTION: Thank you so much.

Last updated: June 25, 2021

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