The Secretary of Health and Human Services of the United States, Alex Azar, praised in Colombia “the incredible work” of the USNS Comfort, which he described as “a triumph of international humanitarian cooperation” to help mitigate the crisis generated in the region due “To the failed regime” of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela.
Azar argued that “under the current failed regime, Venezuelans face enormous health challenges, suffer from infectious diseases and chronic non-communicable diseases that are not being treated because the Nicolás Maduro regime has destroyed the nation’s health system.”
He explained that the mission is necessary not only because many forcibly displaced Venezuelan refugees urgently need medical attention, but also because the medical systems of many nations have been affected by the arrival of these refugees.
He said that for the government of President Donald Trump it is of great importance “to help our neighbors in this moment of need.”
“We are inspired by the great determination of Venezuelan refugees, who are forced to flee the Maduro regime for their own survival and the survival of their families,” he said.
Azar said the crew is composed of a specialist not only from the US, but also from Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica and Peru.
The current mission of USNS Comfort is coordinated with governments of Central America, South America and the Caribbean, the same at sea as on land.
Plans for a democratic Venezuela
Azar highlighted the importance of cooperation even to “plan the reconstruction of the health system of Venezuela, once democracy returns to the country.”
He said that at that time it will be necessary to restore the infrastructure and public services of hospitals and laboratories, purchase basic supplies and medicines, and Venezuelan health professionals who have been forced to flee their country should be returned.
“Maduro’s failed regime has done tremendous damage to Venezuela’s health system, but the United States and our partners have already begun to establish the framework for reconstruction,” said Azar.
On Colombia’s efforts, he said: “He has been a strong partner for the United States on many issues, but we have been especially impressed with his leadership and generosity in providing the health services, social services and employment needed by Venezuelan refugees.”