With the downfall of Mengistu Haile Mariam (who had taken control of the Derg), U.S.-Ethiopian relations improved as legislative restrictions on non-humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia were lifted. Diplomatic relations were upgraded to the ambassadorial level in 1992. Total U.S. government assistance, including food aid, between 1991 and 2003 was $2.3 billion. During the severe drought year of 2003, the U.S. provided a record $553.1 million in assistance, of which $471.7 million was food aid.
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“The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do. It is the freedom to refrain, withdraw and abstain which makes a totalitarian regime impossible.”
—Eric Hoffer (19021983)