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  • President Donald Trump talks to reporters in the White House in Washington, U.S., Mar. 8, 2019.

    President Donald Trump talks to reporters in the White House in Washington, U.S., Mar. 8, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 March 2019

Trump is asking Congress to allow the Department of State to reserve US$500 million to carry out actions in Venezuela.

U.S. President Donald Trump asked Monday Congress to cut aid to Latin America but allow the U.S. Department of State to use US$500 million to fund its interventionist policies against the government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela which the Trump administration refers to as "democratic transition".

RELATED:
Trump Renews Obama-era Emergency Over Venezuela, Maduro Calls It 'Historic Error'

The U.S. government released its fiscal year 2020 draft budget (FY20), which summarizes what the Trump administration intends to achieve from October 2019 to September 2020.

In his declaration of priorities President Trump includes a 23 percent cut for the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), whose budget is US$52 billion in 2019 which Trump wants to lower to U$40 billion in 2020.

In a letter to Congress, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained that his Department needs the "appropriate resources" to meet its main foreign policy objectives. Therefore, the Executive reserves the ability to transfer up to US$500 million from other funds to "respond to the crisis" or "support a democratic transition" in Venezuela.

"Invasion approaches! Trump requested to reserve US$500 million to finance war on Venezuela. The attack on Venezuela will also be long-term, so Trump made clear when requesting US$500 million."

If FY20 is approved by Congress, the State Department's Latin America office would suffer a cut of almost 27 percent, since it now has US$158 million and Trump has requested it receives only US$116 million next year. 

On the other hand, the U.S. government also announced late Monday that it will withdraw the diplomatic staff that still remains in its Caracas embassy, given that its presence hinders Washington's strategy.

"The U.S. will withdraw all remaining personnel from [the U.S. embassy in Venezuela] this week,” U.S. Secretary of State said through his Twitter account and added that “this decision reflects the deteriorating situation in Venezuela as well as the conclusion that the presence of U.S. diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on U.S. policy.”

"The cyber attacks the Venezuelan brothers are suffering reminded me of this Snowden movie fragment. Coincidence? I doubt it very much. Until when will we allow Trump and his clique to do what they please?"

Previously, on Jan. 24, the U.S. government ordered the evacuation of its non-essential diplomatic personnel from Venezuela. On that occasion, Pompeo said that his country would maintain diplomatic relations with the opposition lawmaker and self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaido, who has been backed by U.S. politicians in his international strategy against Venezuela's President Maduro.

In the FY20 Trump also requested a 19.4 percent increase in financial resources for fighting drugs in Latin America. If this proposal is approved by Congress, the regional anti-drug budget will shift from US$390 million in 2019 to US$484 in 2020.

Colombia would beneift the most as its U.S.-financed anti-drug funds would go from US$143 million in 2019 to US$209 million in 2020, a hike representing a 31.5 percent increase.


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