BUENOS AIRES – The 9th Regional Meeting on International Mechanisms of Humanitarian Assistance started on Wednesday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, focusing on the crisis in Venezuela.
Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie said in the opening address that the situation in Venezuela was a “humanitarian crisis of (great) magnitude.”
The meeting, organized by the Argentine government and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, will run until Thursday, providing international officials, especially those from Latin America, with a venue for discussing better ways of managing humanitarian aid to countries like Venezuela.
Faurie discussed the situation in Venezuela under Nicolas Maduro, noting that it provided a test for the region “in the area of infrastructure” and aid providers had to start thinking about “possible scenarios.”
The Argentine foreign minister said that in international relations, humanitarian aid was “the expression of something very positive in man, which is solidarity.”
In recent months, the Red Cross, China, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and UNICEF delivered hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid to Venezuela, whose regime blocked aid convoys organized by the opposition.
“What the International Red Cross does, as valuable as it is, is not sufficient (to deal with) the magnitude of the crisis in Venezuela. Therefore, this meeting, among many other results, has to lead to a call for Venezuela to do more to receive humanitarian assistance,” Faurie told reporters.
Alejandro Daneri, president of the White Helmets Commission, said Argentina donated 26 tons of food to Venezuela but was still “waiting to be able to enter Venezuelan territory.”
The commission manages Argentina’s response to humanitarian crises.
Daneri said Venezuelans living in Argentina donated another three tons of aid and “all the work” is being done to have the regime in Caracas accept the shipment.
Faurie said there were other countries in Latin America, such as Nicaragua, that needed humanitarian assistance “for other reasons.”
“It’s not just what Venezuela is experiencing today, it’s, for example, all that the Caribbean lived through in 2017 and 2018,” the foreign minister said, referring to the hurricanes that ravaged that region.