May 20, 2019

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U.S. Continues Giving Aid to Central America and to Millions of Venezuelan Refugees

U.S. Continues Giving Aid to Central America and to Millions of Venezuelan Refugees
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Some have argued the United States should give more.

The United States will continue responding to requests for humanitarian aid from those countries, and will evaluate needs each time, Mr. Green said.

In mid-October, a Navy hospital ship, the Comfort, left Norfolk, Va., on a four-month deployment in Latin America to help Venezuelan refugees. On a visit to Panama and Mexico last month, Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, talked about the ship’s role in providing medical aid.

Mr. Trump has made Venezuela a campaign topic, falsely claiming that Democrats want to carry out socialist policies like those that have wrecked the Venezuelan economy. But in recent weeks, he has made a much bigger issue of the Central American migrants and refugees, describing a slowly approaching caravan as an “invasion of our country.”

At campaign rallies and on Twitter, the president has consistently demonized the group. The caravan, swelling to 7,000 at one point, has dwindled in size as it travels north. Only a small number are expected to reach the United States-Mexico border, but Mr. Trump has threatened to send up to 15,000 military troops there.

The president also suggested he would cut off aid, saying on Twitter last month: “Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them.”

Mr. Green said Mr. Trump had not spoken to him about ending or reducing the aid. He said that the topic of aid to the Central American nations had come up at meetings with other agencies, but that it was one of a range of issues under discussion.

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