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Venezuela is suffering one of the worst humanitarian crises in the history of the Western Hemisphere, conditions that have spurred the exodus of over 7 million Venezuelans over the last decade. Yet despite the intensity and duration of the crisis, the flow of aid to Venezuela is woefully inadequate.

Between January and November 2022, the Wilson Center’s Latin American Program convened a Humanitarian Working Group with representatives of prominent Venezuelan NGOs to identify barriers to aid delivery. In a new report summarizing the working group’s conclusions, Michael Penfold and Cynthia J. Arnson identify the principle obstacle as the unwillingness of Nicolás Maduro to relinquish control over aid deliveries or allow sufficient assistance to enter the country. They also find that, even though international sanctions on Venezuela include exemptions for humanitarian and civil society organizations, over-compliance has seriously limited the operations of non-profit organizations, by curbing the willingness of donors to assume the risks associated with the disbursement of funds in Venezuela. Meanwhile, political and administrative obstacles continue to impede a humanitarian accord reached last year, while legislation proposed by the Venezuelan government would deepen control over civil society organizations.

Latin America Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin America Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more