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Venezuela's VP says IMF not delivering COVID-19 funds under US pressure

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Venezuela's Vice President Delcy Rodriguez addresses the media at the Miraflores Palace, in Caracas, Venezuela September 22, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez says the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has not yet delivered funds under a program to help countries battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rodriguez said at the UN Conference on Trade and Development that the South American country's has not yet received the funds, blaming a US "veto."

"Venezuela reiterates its denunciation that the IMF refuses to deliver our people the $5 billion our country is owed to fight the pandemic," she said.

In August, the IMF authorized Venezuela to receive the funds in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) as part of a $650 billion global effort to boost liquidity for the world's most vulnerable countries.

The United States, the IMF's largest shareholder, has imposed several rounds of sanctions against Venezuela aimed at ousting President Nicolas Maduro and replacing him with its favored opposition figure Juan Guaido.

The sanctions, which include illegal confiscation of Venezuelan assets abroad and an economic blockade, have caused enormous suffering to millions of people in the country.

In a statement on Thursday, a State Department spokesperson said Washington was aware of the statements by Rodriguez and that only governments recognized by the IMF can access its resources.

"We welcome further agreement among all political actors in Venezuela to allow for unfettered and transparent access to humanitarian assistance," the statement read.

US President Joe Biden has not relaxed sanctions against the financial and oil sectors of Venezuela since being sworn into office in January and has maintained support for the Trump-backed opposition figure Guaido.

Venezuela descended into political turmoil after Guaidó unilaterally declared himself “interim president” in January 2019.

With Washington’s greenlight and help from a small number of rogue soldiers, Guaidó later launched a botched coup attempt against the elected government.

The Trump administration recognized Guaidó as the "legitimate leader" of Venezuela and publicly pursued a “regime change” policy against Maduro.

The Biden administration has reaffirmed the US recognition of Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president and ruled out negotiations with Maduro anytime soon.

Maduro has accused US spy agency CIA and the American military of plotting to assassinate him, questioning whether its current president is aware of the move.

The representatives of Venezuela’s government and opposition groups have recently held a fresh round of talks in Mexico in an effort to resolve political and economic issues.

In February 2020, the Venezuelan government went to the the International Criminal Court (ICC) with the complaint that the US unilateral measures against Venezuela constituted a crime against humanity.

Earlier this year, Alena Douhan, the United Nations' special rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, described the effects of the US sanctions on Venezuela as “devastating.”

Also in a study released in April 2019, the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research estimated that the US sanctions had caused more than 40,000 deaths in Venezuela in 2017-2018.

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