President Donald Trump’s administration is diverting nearly $42 million intended for development aid in Guatemala and Honduras to support Venezuela’s opposition chief Juan Guaido, including staff salaries, an internal document showed.
In a memo obtained by AFP, the US Agency for International Development called Venezuela’s political crisis “a significant, exigent event in the US national interest” that required a switch in $41.9 million in funds.
The United States and more than 50 other countries recognize Guaido as president of Venezuela, but leftist leader Nicolas Maduro remains in power despite nearly half a year of international efforts.
Trump earlier this year declared that he would end all US aid to Guatemala and Honduras as well as El Salvador, blaming the violence-plagued countries for not stopping their citizens from migrating to the United States.
The US aid agency said that $19.4 million in funding intended for Central America would support “good governance” in Venezuela.
Among other uses, that portion will go to “interim government staff salaries or stipends, work-related travel and other costs necessary to ensure full deployment of a transparent financial management system and other activities necessary for a democratic transition.”
It will also be directed to non-governmental organizations to “create media content and airtime to provide greater reach to Venezuelan citizens,” the memo said.
Another $2 million will go to support diplomatic efforts by Guaido’s supporters as they negotiate with Maduro, the memo said.
The two sides have been meeting in Barbados in talks mediated by Norway, although limited progress has been seen.
The US aid agency will also direct $7.5 million to support independent media to “provide the Venezuelan people with unbiased and unfiltered sources of news and information,” the memo said.
The rest of the funds will go to a range of uses including strengthening human rights groups, election monitoring and civil society.
The State Department did not immediately offer comment when asked about the funding diversion, which was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
The United States in the 2018 fiscal year allocated nearly $149 million to Guatemala and $112 million to Honduras as it sought to improve conditions causing migration.
READ IT: House Judiciary Committee releases report defining Trump impeachable offenses
On Saturday, the House Judiciary Committee released a report outlining the impeachable acts committed by President Donald Trump.
"Our President holds the ultimate public trust," said the report, titled "Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment," in its introduction. "A President faithful only to himself—who will sell out democracy and national security for his own personal advantage—is a danger to every American. Indeed, he threatens America itself."
The report clarifies the procedures for impeachment, analyzes whether president can be "impeached for abuse of executive powers," and "whether it is preferable to await the next election when a President has sought to corrupt that very same election."
Devin Nunes likely under federal investigation over foreign contacts after Parnas phone call revelation: ex-FBI official
On MSNBC's "AM Joy," former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi speculated that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) may already be under FBI investigation for his secret calls with indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.
"What do you make of the fact that the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, who participated in the Adam Schiff portion of the impeachment hearings, never said anything to anybody about the fact that he was not just the guy who's sitting on the dais, he was involved in some way with one of the players?" asked host Joy Reid.
"Well, it says a lot on two levels," said Figliuzzi. "It says a lot about Devin Nunes as an individual, his ethics, his integrity, and what he's all about. And then on a larger level, it's just a huge, ironic development that we're hearing all of this about — the Republicans are defending allegations that the president lacks integrity and ethics, and they're sitting there overseeing this and they're not recusing themselves, and they're not saying anything about their colleague, Devin Nunes. So, you know, the hypocrisy is loud and clear here. And eventually when the dust clears, Joy, I wouldn't be surprised if ethics investigations and perhaps even criminal investigations really point the finger at Nunes as someone who should have recused himself and is much deeper into this than we know now."
Trump hammered by ex-intel officials for sucking up to the Saudis after Florida naval base shooting
President Donald Trump is taking heat from former U.S. intelligence officials for taking a very soft tone with the Saudi government after Friday’s shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.
Not long after the shooter was identified as a second lieutenant in the Saudi Arabian military, the president tweeted out words of sympathy from the Saudi king after a phonecall, writing, "The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people."