The country’s vice president says access to the program is being disrupted and calls it a crime.
By Brett Wilkins
Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez has accused the U.S.-backed international financial system of blocking the country’s access to Covid-19 vaccines under the COVAX program, even though Venezuela has paid all but $10 million of the $120 million it owes.
Appearing in a televised address last week, Rodríguez said Venezuela was unable to pay the remaining $10 million because it was being blocked from transferring funds to the Switzerland-based GAVI Vaccine Alliance, which directs COVAX.
“The financial system that also hides behind the U.S. lobby has the power to block resources that can be used to immunize the population of Venezuela,” she said.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted a letter from COVAX stating that it “received notification from UBS Bank” that four payments, totaling just over $4.6 million, were “blocked and under investigation.”
Como lo acaba de denunciar la Vicepresidenta @delcyrodriguezv, #Venezuela ha pagado LA TOTALIDAD de sus compromisos con el mecanismo #COVAX para adquirir las vacunas. Sin embargo, el Banco ha "bloqueado" arbitrariamente los últimos pagos y están bajo "investigación". ¡Un crimen! pic.twitter.com/L6n9xj41Mo
— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) June 10, 2021
Arreaza said that “Venezuela has paid all of its commitments,” adding that “the bank has arbitrarily blocked” the country’s final payments and calling the situation “a crime.”
The vice president and foreign minister’s remarks follow accusations from Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro last week that “organizations of U.S. imperialism” are engaged in an effort to stop vaccine producers from selling doses to the country.
“Venezuela might be the only country in the world that is subject to a persecution against its right to freely purchase vaccines,” said Maduro, according to Venezuelanalysis. “Venezuela is besieged so that it cannot buy vaccines.”
Successive U.S. administrations have targeted Venezuela with economic sanctions that critics say have devastated the nation’s once-thriving economy and have caused tremendous suffering for the poor and working-class people whose dramatic uplift was once hailed as the great success of the Bolivarian Revolution launched under the late President Hugo Chávez.
According to a 2019 report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a progressive think tank based in Washington, D.C., as many as 40,000 Venezuelans have died due to sanctions, which have made it much more difficult for millions of people to obtain food, medicine, and other necessities.
Maduro also denounced the World Health Organization (WHO) for its role in delaying vaccine delivery to Venezuela. The president had expected “many millions” of the Covid-19 jabs to be delivered in July and August.
“The COVAX system owes a debt to Venezuela,” asserted Maduro. “We made a deposit in April and we are waiting for the vaccines.”
That $64 million deposit to GAVI came after a rare deal between the Maduro administration and Juan Guaidó, the coup leader recognized by the United States and dozens of other nations as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state despite never having been elected.
Adept at circumventing U.S. interference in its affairs, Venezuela turned to China, Russia, and Cuba to launch its mass vaccination program, which aims to inoculate 70 percent of the population this year. Earlier this month, the country reached a deal to buy and locally manufacture the Russian EpiVacCorona vaccine.
Venezuela has also already acquired about 3 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V and Chinese Sinopharm jabs, and last month began clinical trials on Cuba’s Adbala vaccine.
Compared to other nations in the region, Venezuela has reported a very low rate of coronavirus infections and deaths. According to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center, there have been nearly 248,000 reported cases and 2,781 deaths in the country of 28.5 million people during the ongoing pandemic. Neighboring Colombia, with just over 50 million people, has reported more than 3.6 million cases and over 94,000 deaths.
This article is from Common Dreams.
WHY USA IS USING ITS POWER TO TRY TO DESTROY OTHER COUNTRIES LIKE VENEZUELA, CUBA,???? IT CAN DO IT TO WEAK COUNTRIES. CHINA IS OPPOSING USA EVIL BULLYING . BIDEN WAS TRYING TO CONVERT G7 TO A MOB GANG. CHINA IS NOW STRONG ENOUGH TO RESIST . BIDEN AND BORIS JOHNSON ARE TRYING TO BULLY CHINA IN THE SAME WAY BRITAIN DID OVER OPIUM DRUG TRAFFIC INTO CHINA IN THE 1850S , AND TOOK HONG KONG. WAKE UP …COLONIALIST /IMPERIALIST ….THIS IS 2021 A NEW POWER WITH A HEART HAS RISEN…COMPETE WITH CHINA TO CIVILISE THE WORLD. DO WHAT YOU CLAIM DEMOCRACY IS ABOUT. CHINA IS CONNECTING THE PLANET WITH RAILS AND PORTS ,NOT MILITARY BASES AROUND THE WORLD..
I doubt anything will change for the better until we build an antiwar movement in this country strong enough that it will both explain to the people how the euphemism “applying sanctions” merely conceals what are actually war-crimes under international law, and can then put real pressure on our sorry duopoly captured Congress and Executive branches. I suspect this latter is the same reason that we haven’t even managed to get the new administration to drop their extradition appeal in the Julian Assange case, in short they have carte blanche to be as evil as they want until some force pushes back on them!
Please remember that Canada is an avid supporter of the Obama/Trump/Biden regime change machine.
On the other hand, we may be able to see the anti-Venezuela ‘Lima Group’ of countries
bereft of its nominal host country, after Peru’s recent progressive election. (The Slime Group’s
real headquarters are of course in Washington, with an active subsidiary holding in Ottawa.)
As has been the case in large parts of the Majority world shoved aside by our liberal democracies pathetically scrambling over each other to hoard the “approved” vaccines, the Chinese and Russians will have to do the heavy lifting with their “u approved” vaccines. Of course this effort will be scorned by our leaders and state friendly media but the Majority World will know who their real friends are.
How can the world tolerate the US cruelties it inflicts on vulnerable nations that refuse to accept US dictates? What moral people anywhere would buy into US values of materialism, greed and “might makes right”?