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While Trump cuts food stamps, USAID bankrolls Venezuela regime change with half a billion in tax dollars

The Trump administration has spent $654 million in “aid” to try to overthrow Venezuela’s government, including $435 million through USAID and $128 million directly to Juan Guaidó and his corrupt coup gang — all while imposing crippling austerity at home.

by Ben Norton

Part 5 - Falsely accusing Venezuela of the hemisphere’s worst migrant crisis

In addition to directly participating in regime-change efforts and bankrolling right-wing opposition groups, USAID has helped to popularize demonstrably false talking points demonizing Venezuela, which have been breathlessly echoed by corporate media stenographers.

In its press statements announcing tens of millions of tax dollars in support for Venezuela’s right-wing coup regime, USAID has accused Venezuela of creating “the largest external displacement in the history of the Western Hemisphere.

Mainstream media outlets have frequently repeated this claim, citing the US regime-change organization without investigating its veracity.

It is impossible to obtain a precise estimate of the number of Venezuelans displaced in the US-fueled crisis. Venezuelan government officials have told The Grayzone that most figures echoed by the US government and corporate media outlets are greatly exaggerated, but that millions of Venezuelans have been displaced because of the conflict — likely somewhere around 3 million. The crisis has been undoubtedly fueled by Washington’s blockade of the Venezuelan economy and relentless attempts to overthrow its government.

However, the largest external displacement in the modern history of the Western Hemisphere has taken place not in Venezuela, but rather in its neighbor Colombia, where a brutally repressive right-wing government, backed to the hilt by Washington, has waged a decades-long internal war against leftist insurgent groups. Millions of Colombians have been displaced because of this US-backed war, which is still ongoing.

Colombia’s war was aggravated and prolonged by the US government’s notorious Plan Colombia, which scholar Greg Grandin has blamed for “catastrophic violence on the country, resulting in a mountain of corpses and millions of displaced civilians.

7.7 million internally people were displaced in Colombia in 2017, according to the United Nations. That is more than any other country on Earth, including Syria and Iraq.

Ironically, millions of these displaced Colombians were welcomed in Venezuela. (This reporter interviewed a Venezuelan national of Colombian descent who was born next door but has lived most of her life in the impoverished Caracas barrio of Petare, and who staunchly supports Venezuela’s leftist movement.)

While fueling Colombia’s migration crisis, Washington has sought to sabotage its internal peace process, backing the hard-line, far-right President Iván Duque in his fanatical opposition to the peace accord negotiated by his predecessor, Juan Manuel Santos.

At every level, the US government has tried to destabilize and overthrow Venezuela’s democratically elected leftist government, blaming the horrid consequences of its aggressive policies on Caracas itself.

USAID has served the spearhead of its hybrid war on Venezuela. As the Trump administration pours money into the regime-change machine, citizens at home are suffering from another kind of sanctions, facing painful immiseration and growing economic hardship as it slashes their already meager social welfare programs.

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