US President Donald Trumps administration plans to divert more than $40 million in humanitarian aid for Central America to support the US-backed opposition in Venezuela, according to an internal document obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.
The $41.9 million had been destined for Guatemala and Honduras, two of the three Central American countries at the center of a migration crisis in which thousands of people have fled poverty, violence and corruption and attempted to cross the southern US border.
The congressional notification from the US Agency for International Development said the money will instead be used for salaries, travel, communications equipment, technical assistance and training for the management of a government budget and other needs for the Venezuelan opposition.
The memorandum, dated July 11, says the funds are necessary because of “a significant, exigent event in the US national interest, specifically the rapidly evolving crisis in Venezuela.”
The memo and its contents were first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Spokespeople for the State Department, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido and Venezuelas Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Guaido, the head of Venezuelas National Assembly, invoked the Venezuelan constitution in January to assume an interim presidency, arguing Venezuelas President Nicolas Maduro is illegitimate.