USAID Administrator Mark Green's Interview with CNN's Nick Valencia

Press Release Shim

Speeches Shim


For Immediate Release

Sunday, February 17, 2019
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email:


Tienditas Warehouse
Cucuta, Colombia

QUESTION: (Off-mike) tell us about what you're doing?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Today what we did was bring in a new shipment of humanitarian assistance, about 66 metric tons.  As I made clear, this was not the first, nor will it be the last, there will be other shipments coming in, other materials coming in from countries like Indonesia, they'll be coming in from a variety of sources and it really is (inaudible) what President Guaido asked of President Trump. President Guaido, who we officially recognize as interim president of Venezuela, had a specific request for emergency medical care and nutrition, and so we've been responding. We've been mobilizing assistance getting here, prepositioning here in Colombia, obviously Cucuta primarily, which is what President Guaido and his representatives have asked for. But it's important, because we're providing real hope for the people of Venezuela.

QUESTION: I wanted to talk to you about that because there is a lot of hope and optimism. We saw a lot of smiles today on the back of the crisis that has been going on for years, even decades. Why is this (inaudible)?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: So first off, we have been providing assistance to Venezuelans who have fled the country for a long time - over $140 million worth of humanitarian assistance over the last couple of years.  And a lot of that has been here in Colombia, but it's also been in places like Brazil.  We're trying to help host communities really to withstand the cost of all those poor, fleeing Venezuelans.  And so, what we really see today, what is happening today that is different, is we're taking steps to position aid so that hopefully very soon we can actually provide some relief to those who have been left behind, those who are in Venezuela hoping for a brighter day.  And as you know, the stories coming out of Venezuela are almost indescribable. The brutality, suffering, the nutritional problems, hospitals running out of meds, power grid down, not having enough to eat, so I think you've seen a lot of hope today because they think we're getting closer to when finally, we can provide some hope inside the country.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) he's not allowing the supplies in. We're standing just a few hundred yards from what is a border crossing that's shut down. Does it concern you looking around, does it concern you at all that this may never help (inaudible)?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: When you talk to President Guaido and his people, they seem very confident that the assistance will get in.  But more importantly, I think the key point is, the key here is, this crisis is man-made, regime driven. There is one person standing between the intense suffering of his people and what really is the world responding.  So, the U.S. has obviously taken a lead role here, you can see it with the assistance here. But many countries are helping out - 51 countries have recognized Juan Guadio, but also a number of countries have made pledges, Canadians have, Europeans have, all of these countries are coming together recognizing that the suffering has to end; we have to provide relief, hope, but I think with Guadio's leadership and the team around him of young, dynamic Venezuelans, I think there really is a chance, there really is hope.

QUESTION: We've seen that optimism and it is infectious, we talked about it on the plane (inaudible) is there any worry at all that that this might be seen as a provocation (inaudible)?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: First off, let's be clear that Venezuelans have been voting with their feet for a long time.  Over three million Venezuelans have fled the country; I think they've made real clear how they feel about Maduro's policies and the regime.  So really what we're doing today is to try to make clear that we stand with the Venezuelan people, which is opposite of Maduro, and that we are taking steps out of compassion, out of a specific request from Juan Guaido to try to provide visible help, and as you pointed out, we're really close to Venezuela standing here, and there is no reason at all, besides Maduro, there is no reason that this assistance can't be (inaudible).

QUESTION: Is there anything I haven't asked you that's important to know, anything that you'd like to talk about (inaudible)?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: I think what's extraordinary here is the outpouring of support from so many parts of the world.  I think that people are recognizing this is the best that we've seen in a long time to relieve suffering that we've seen in a long time. The people of Venezuela are incredible, they're strong, they're dynamic; we've met the young Venezuelans outside of the country, great leaders. This is a country that can, once again, can one day be a great leader in this hemisphere.

QUESTION: With a little bit of help from the United States.


QUESTION: Thank you.