David Abdulah

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In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic the United States government says it is allocating more than US$64 million dollars to more than 30 countries to help them fight the coronavirus. This was revealed by Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Department of State Jon Piechowski and Dr Emily Zielinski-Gutierrez of the US Centre for Disease Control during a telephonic news conference on Tuesday. “As of April 28th, the World Health Organization has reported a global total of 2.878.196 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 198.668 deaths,” Zielinski-Gutierrez said. She lauded the Ministries of Healths in the Caribbean and Latin America for tackling the virus in a proactive way.”I think when you look at the ministries of health throughout the region you see really strong preparedness; plans are in place, complex guidelines are being issued to deal with things like some of the new drugs that are becoming available and discussed in the media and what will countries use as an approach to deciding about their use in trials or otherwise in countries,” she said.She noted however that there must be enough beds, enough personal protective equipment and enough trained professionals.”We have a package of $800 million dollars that was in supplemental funding that was directed to the CDC for international activities. I just want to note that the US Government works closely with our international partners and host governments around the world to support countries to prepare for, detect, prevent, and respond to public health threats. Lessons learned from addressing HIV, influenza, Ebola, dengue, Zika, and many other viruses are now being applied to the COVID-19 response,” she said. Meanwhile, Piechowski said apart from the $64 million aid, additional funding has also been provided by non-governmental organisations.”American generosity isn’t limited to our assistance that comes directly from the U.S. Government. American businesses, NGOs, and faith-based charities have joined this all-of-America effort to saving lives all across the world. We estimate that the American people have given nearly $3 billion dollars in donations and assistance in the fight against COVID-19,” Piechowski added.Some of this aid has even gone to Venezuela, Piechowski said. He said the COVID-19 statistics given by Venezuela was not accurate.”We have no reason to believe in any of the figures that Maduro has put forward in terms of the impact of COVID-19 on the Venezuelan population, and it, of course, would not surprise us that they were making up numbers and sharing false data because that is what authoritarian regimes do in the face of crises like that,” Piechowski added.He said China also did this in the early days.Calling for transparency in all countries, Piechowski said this was the only way to defeat the virus.”In terms of increased repression, that is also part and parcel of what authoritarians do. We’ve seen NGO reporting from Venezuela of different arrests and harassment of journalists that continues, as well as people in the public health field,” he said. He noted that the US had allocated $9 million dollars in humanitarian assistance in Venezuela to help the Venezuelan people get what they need.” We’re also dedicating money to those Venezuelans who have had to flee the country because, of course, COVID-19 is just one – it’s a disease, it’s additional misery on a repressive and dire situation that’s affecting so many Venezuelans,” he said.However, the political leader of the Movement for Social Justice David Abdulah who has publicly chastised the US for not assisting the region said the US must explain to whom did it give $9 million in aid.”One has to ask to whom in Venezuela was that $9 million given. The US has steadfastly rejected President Nicholas Maduro as the president of the country and so the US may have given that money to Juan Guaido. The question now arises as to what Juan Guaido has done with that money,” Abdulah said.He added, “Also that $9 million is chicken feed compared to the more than US$20 billion that the US has seized in US banks by PDVSA the Venezuelan State oil company. By seizing that money, the US is denying the Venezuelan government billions of US dollars to address shortages of health care and food and so much more.”Abdulah said the sanctions that the US imposes on Venezuela has frustrated economic activity in Venezuela. He also said President Trump “should take the beam out of his own eye when he tells people to use bleach and disinfectant to cure Coronavirus. Abdulah said the US COVID-19 statistics were also understated, noting that the “aid” that the US claims to have given Venezuela was “somewhat of a joke.”