Statement by Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg Press Conference with President Ivan Duque and UNHCR High Commissioner Filippo Grandi February 8, 2021

Good afternoon Mr. President, High Commissioner, Ministers, my fellow Ambassadors, and fellow members of the audience today. It is a privilege to be here with you all.

President Duque, I would like to thank you for the invitation to be part of this day, which is a milestone for the region. On behalf of the United States, I applaud Colombia’s courageous and precedent-setting decision to offer Venezuelans temporary protection status.

We find ourselves in the middle of the largest forced displacement crisis in the history of the Americas. Over 5.5 million Venezuelans have been forced to flee their country by the catastrophic impact of the illegitimate Maduro regime on the

country, and as we all know, Colombia has received the largest number.

Despite the twin challenges of managing this humanitarian crisis and the global COVID pandemic, Colombia has become a leader in the world on the treatment of refugees and migrants.

This bold and generous commitment to provide temporary protection puts Colombia before the world in providing protection to vulnerable Venezuelans.

Taking a step like the one Colombia has today is not easy, but one that is grounded in values that we share. It is centered on the premise that we are all safer, stronger, and more prosperous with a fair, orderly, and humane policy. A policy that allows families to start their lives over and become contributing members of our societies once more.

I would like to finish by noting that we stand in solidarity with Colombia and will continue to work with you to support the needs of millions of Venezuelans who have been forced to flee their country.

Colombia’s solidarity with the people of Venezuela is a commitment that we are honored to share. Since the start of the crisis, we have been proud to support Colombia with more than $500 million dollars of humanitarian and development aid as it provides for the needs of Venezuelans who have sought refuge within its borders. And we are looking for ways to do even more. As Secretary Blinken has said, the United States is recommitted to rebuilding and expanding our humanitarian and development programs around the world, and that is a commitment that we look forward to following through on with Colombia.