AFP Ottawa, ON, Canada
Feb 04, 2019, 09.19 PM
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Monday pledged Can$53 million (US$40 million) in humanitarian aid for Venezuelans amid a deepening crisis.
"Today, Canada is stepping up and announcing $53 million to address the most pressing needs of Venezuelans on the ground, including almost 3 million refugees," Trudeau told a gathering of the Lima Group of nations.
"The bulk of the funds will go to trusted partners, and neighbouring countries to help them support Venezuela and Venezuelans," he said.
The 14-member Lima Group, which includes most Latin American countries and Canada, met to discuss how to support opposition leader Juan Guaido, who proclaimed himself acting president last month.
Guaido, who heads the opposition-controlled National Assembly, addressed the gathering in a video message, saying he looked forward to having "free and fair elections as soon as possible in order to restore democracy to Venezuela."
Most of the bloc has urged Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to step down, and make way for elections to deal with an economic collapse that has sent Venezuelans flooding into neighbouring countries.
Maduro began a new term in office last month after disputed 2018 elections whose results were rejected as invalid by the opposition. The Lima Group also had refused to recognize the results.
Guaido has been recognized as the legitimate interim president by a number of countries, including the United States and some EU member states.
The bulk of the funds will go to trusted partners, and neighbouring countries to help them support Venezuela and Venezuelans,' Trudeau said.