Carrie Filipetti, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cuba and Venezuela, Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State
David Smolansky, Coordinator, Working Group on the Crisis of Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees, Organization of American States
Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Council of the Americas (moderator)
“What does it mean to fight a pandemic while under a narco-state? That’s what Venezuela is facing.” This was how OAS’ David Smolansky defined the current situation in Venezuela on an AS/COA virtual Webex panel with other experts to discuss the conditions in the country to fight the novel coronavirus. Legislator Manuela Bolívar said that 80 percent of the population of Venezuela does not have access to clean water, while U.S. diplomat Carrie Filipetti noted that there have been “carve-outs” in place in U.S. sanctions against the country that allow for humanitarian and aid efforts. When asked if the U.S. government would be willing to work with Nicolás Maduro to mitigate COVID-19, she said the State Department would have to first determine humanitarian aid is being distributed fairly. Julio Castro gave a statistical panoramoa, pointing out that Venezuela’s health crisis started a decade ago.