President Irfaan Ali has held talks on the internal political and economic situation in neighbouring Venezuela with U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is currently on a visit to four South American Countries.
During a joint press conference on Friday morning, Secretary Pompeo announced that some US$5 million will be given to Guyanese authorities to help Venezuelans here who have had to flee from their home country “to escape the horrors and brutality of the Maduro regime.”
While President Ali stayed clear of commenting on the specifics of this discussion, Secretary Pompeo said he spoke with Mr Ali about the need for democracy in Venezuela and an end to the illegitimate Nicholas Maduro regime.
“He is denying the very democracy that the Guyanese people so love, denying the democracy for the people of Venezuela,” Pompeo said while standing alongside Mr Ali at State House, the President’s official residence.
Pompeo in a brief comment on the discussions said he trusts that the cooperation which Guyana and the United States share on the Venezuela issue will continue.
“I want to express my personal appreciation for Guyana hosting Venezuelans who have crossed into your country… you’ve been a strong partner for us on this issue, you have supported our statements through the OAS and the LIMA group,” he added.
Venezuela’s dire economic and political situation has prompted millions of citizens to flee the country to other South American and Caribbean territories.
The worsening domestic crisis has prompted what countries in the South American and Caribbean Region has regarded as a migrant crisis with significant implications.
According to data released by UNICEF in February 2020, there is an increasingly high presence of Venezuelan nationals and Guyanese returnees settling in Regions Two (Pomeroon-Supernaam) and Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).
And although the figures may have since risen, as of February 2019, Guyana hosted approximately 36,400 Venezuelan migrants.
At the same time, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) reported that a survey of 1100 Venezuelan migrants in Guyana indicates that 17 per cent of that population, which is school-aged, is attending school here.
Although USAID did not differentiate how many persons have stayed permanently and how many came as a means of moving onto another country, the figures are likely to be higher since boatloads of Venezuelans have been coming here this year.