Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Friday he would ask the United Nations for $500 million to help repatriate hundreds of thousands of poor citizens who fled the economic meltdown that is shaking the South American country.
As reported by AFP, Maduro has yet to decide if he will attend the UN General Assembly in New York next week, saying he needs to assess security measures first. He has not attended the General Assembly since 2015.
In a letter to the new Special Representative of the Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the region, Eduardo Stein said that Maduro deliberately used a provocative tone, and it is not clear whether the request for money is part of this provocation.
"I beg you, come to Venezuela, I will ask you to give me 500 million dollars to return ... all the migrants outside Venezuela who want to return and all of them are willing to return," Maduro told Stein.
Maduro said he would use the funds to repatriate his compatriots.
The United Nations says that of the 2.3 million Venezuelans living abroad, more than 1.6 million have fled the country since 2015.
The economic situation in Venezuela, the richest country with the largest oil reserves in the world, has deteriorated significantly starting in 2014 with the sharp drop in oil prices, forcing tens of thousands of citizens to flee to neighboring countries.