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.
He ‘knows where lots of Trump bodies are buried’: Ex-Mueller associate says president’s latest dissension spells trouble
President Donald Trump has reportedly fallen out with a decades-long friend, private equity real estate investor Tom Barrack, who is currently the focus of a federal investigation into how the money from Trump's inaugural fund was raised and spent.
On Monday, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner laid out a key reason why Trump may want to distance himself from Barrack at this point:
Televised hearings are in our future (can’t come soon enough). Tom Barrack knows where lots of Trump’s bodies are buried (figuratively speaking), inaugural committee bodies and others. Let’s hope Barrack is already quietly assisting prosecutors. https://t.co/BlgsiaX0YP
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro takes on Norway for whaling, but bungles it
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday responded to Norway's decision to halt its forest protection subsidies, taking to Twitter to criticise the Scandinavian country for its whaling practice and post spectacular -- albeit misleading -- images.
"Look at the killing of whales sponsored by Norway," Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter.
The post includes a video and photographs of a spectacular whale hunt, where mammals in the shallow waters of a bay are slaughtered by people wading on shore, armed with hooked knives. The whales' blood turns the waters red.
However, the images, reportedly taken on May 29 in Norway, illustrate a "grind", a type of pilot whale hunt practised exclusively in the Faroe Islands -- a Danish territory in the North Atlantic.
Orange County teens busted for singing obscure Nazi song while giving Hitler salutes
Nearly a dozen high school students from Southern California delivered Nazi salutes and sang a Nazi marching song in a video posted on social media.
The video was uploaded to Instagram by one member of the boys’ water polo team at Pacifica High School in Garden Grove, California, along with lyrics to the song played for German troops during World War II, reported The Daily Beast.
A spokesperson for the Garden Grove Unified School District told the website administrators learned of the incident in March, four months after the video was posted, but declined to say whether any of the students were disciplined.