Canada to pledge more money for Venezuelan refugee crisis as allies meet: source

OTTAWA — Senior government officials say Canada will provide new humanitarian assistance for nations that have been affected by a growing Venezuelan refugee crisis.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, say an announcement will be made today at a meeting in Ottawa of countries that have recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president of his crisis-torn country.

Canada and its Lima Group allies are meeting to discuss the political, economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela as European countries began throwing their support behind the country’s interim leader.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is hosting the meeting that comes amid massive protests in Venezuela aimed at pressing the country’s socialist leader, Nicolas Maduro, to vacate the presidency.

Canada and its Latin American allies in the Lima Group, along with the United States, already back Guaido as the country’s legitimate leader.

Now European countries have come on board, with Spain, Germany, France, Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and Lithuania calling for free and fair elections as soon as possible.

Canada has already contributed $2.2 million for the humanitarian crisis that’s forced some three million Venezuelans from their homes, sending ripples across the region, particularly in neighbouring Brazil and Colombia which are now faced with a refugee crisis.

– With files from The Associated Press

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