Thursday, April 1, 2021
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Maduro offers “oil for vaccines” for Venezuela

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday proposed “oil against vaccines” as his country, which is the subject of economic sanctions affecting the oil sector in particular, is facing a second wave of coronavirus. “Venezuela has oil tankers, has customers ready to buy oil from us. It would devote part of its production to getting the vaccines it needs. Oil for vaccines!” intervention on public television.

Subject of economic sanctions

“We are ready. Oil for vaccines! But we are not going to beg them from anyone,” he added, in a clear allusion to an initiative by the main opponent Juan Guaido who promised to release Venezuelan funds to the United States. United to buy vaccines.

Venezuela and its oil company PDVSA are subject to international economic sanctions, in particular from the United States, which wants to oust Nicolas Maduro from power, whose re-election in 2018 is considered fraudulent by part of the international community.

Former oil giant, Venezuela produced 520,000 barrels / day in February 2021 (Opep figures), far from the 3 million barrels it produced in 2013. The drop in production predates the sanctions but the country now has great difficulties to market it because of these.

Vaccines that don’t arrive

The phrase “oil for vaccines” echoes the “Oil for Food” program set up by the UN to come to the aid of the Iraqi populations despite the economic sanctions enacted after the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990.

Venezuela launched a vaccination campaign against Covid in February with the Russian Sputnik V and Chinese Sinopharm vaccines and must also receive 60,000 Cuban vaccines. He had previously reserved between 1.4 and 2.4 million doses of this vaccine through the Covax device of the World Health Organization for the most deprived countries. None of those vaccines arrived due to Venezuela’s debt problem to the WHO, and President Maduro has been trying for weeks to release frozen funds to settle the dispute.

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Venezuela announced on March 15 its decision to refuse AstraZeneca, due to possible side effects, but asks to receive vaccines from another manufacturer. The country of 30 million inhabitants has recorded 154,165 cases for 1,532 deaths according to the official report of March 25, figures questioned by the opposition while hospitals and clinics are saturated according to witnesses. The authorities are now worried about the recent increase in the number of cases and in particular the appearance of the Brazilian variant of the virus.

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