Home | Actualidad | Venezuela says Guaido nixed deal to buy coronavirus vaccines, opposition denies

Venezuela says Guaido nixed deal to buy coronavirus vaccines, opposition denies


FILE PHOTO: A man walks outside of the Venezuela’s Central Bank in Caracas, Venezuela, January 31, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello

By Reuters Staff

CARACAS (Reuters) – Lawyers for Venezuela’s central bank on Thursday said opposition leader Juan Guaido rejected a proposed deal to buy coronavirus vaccines in Britain, an assertion the opposition dismissed as false.

The lawyers said the bank – whose board was named by President Nicolas Maduro – requested the support of an ad-hoc central bank board appointed by Guaido to transfer $120 million in funds frozen in Britain to Gavi, an alliance seeking to improve poor countries’ vaccine access.

“Due to international sanctions the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Venezuela have worsened, and President Maduro’s government has been unable to effect payment to Gavi to secure access to COVID-19 vaccines by any other means,” the central bank’s lawyers at Zaiwalla & Co said in a statement.

The opposition argues cutting off Maduro’s access to the funds is justified because he would use the money for corrupt ends, rather than to help Venezuelans suffering a humanitarian crisis and economic collapse.

Guaido is recognized by dozens of countries, including Britain, as Venezuela’s rightful leader after Maduro’s disputed 2018 re-election. The two sides are locked in a London court battle over which side can have access to over $1 billion worth of Venezuelan gold stored at the Bank of England.

“I want to highlight the false nature of the information released by the Maduro regime,” wrote Miguel Pizarro, a representative of Guaido’s interim government. “We reiterate our willingness to find solutions to address the crisis that Venezuelans suffer today.”

The Maduro-aligned central bank has previously sought to access the funds to help fight the impacts of the coronavirus. The opposition said in early January it had reached a deal to participate in COVAX, one of Gavi’s facilities to provide vaccines, but did not provide details.

Maduro has said Venezuela will shortly receive 10 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. The South American country has reported about 117,811 coronavirus cases and 1,084 deaths.

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