US discussing emergency economic aid for Venezuela

(FT.COM) – The US is discussing emergency aid for Venezuela should the regime of Nicolás Maduro fall, including potential financial assistance alongside official loan programmes from the IMF and other institutions.

With opposition leader Juan Guaidó touring South America, Trump administration officials have been quietly planning for the chaotic situation that would probably follow any change of regime — even as the US continues to implement tough oil sanctions designed to starve the Maduro government of foreign revenue.

Among the key questions is what aid the Trump administration will itself offer — potentially requiring Congressional authorisation — to sustain a new Guaidó government in the initial months before global lenders such as the IMF were able to introduce their own full-blown programmes.

People familiar with the situation say emergency aid worth billions of dollars might be needed from the international community in the early months to staunch a humanitarian crisis that has already led to 3.5m refugees fleeing the country.

The US’s ability to muster global support for a rescue package both in the short and long term would be crucial to the country’s fate in a democratic transition.  Recommended The FT View The editorial board Venezuela needs to begin the transition from Maduro “Venezuela is experiencing an extremely complex situation, one of the most complex we have ever seen,” said David Lipton, first deputy managing director of the IMF.

“It’s a crisis of food and nutrition, of hyperinflation and a destabilised exchange rate, of debilitating human capital and physical productive capacity, and a very complicated debt situation.”

The stabilisation effort would have to be very well financed and well executed, he added, because “you only get one good shot to stop a hyperinflation [situation] and there are some important choices to make . . . The international community needs to be ready to support economic stabilisation and recovery.”