Wednesday, March 31, 2021
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Nicolas Maduro offers “oil against vaccines” for Venezuela

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                Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro proposed this Sunday, March 28, 2021 "<em> oil versus vaccines </em>»While his country, which is the subject of economic sanctions affecting in particular the oil sector, is facing a second wave of coronavirus.

                                    <p>« <em>Venezuela has oil tankers, has customers willing to buy oil from us.  He would devote part of his production to getting the vaccines he needs.  Oil for vaccines!</em> », Launched Mr. Maduro, during an intervention on public television.

« We are ready. Oil versus vaccine ! But we ain’t gonna beg them from nobody », He added, in a clear allusion to an initiative of the main opponent Juan Guaido who promised to release Venezuelan funds in the United States to buy vaccines.

Still under US sanctions

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.

A 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 large difficulties in marketing it because of these.

Vaccination campaign launched with Sputnik V and Sinopharm

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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 Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait 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 because of a problem with Venezuela’s debts to the WHO, and President Maduro has been trying for weeks to release frozen funds to settle the dispute.

►Also read: Covid-19: new study on the effectiveness of antibodies on variants

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Venezuela announced on March 15 its decision to refuse AstraZeneca, due to possible side effects, but requests to receive vaccines from another manufacturer.

The country of 30 million inhabitants 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.

(With AFP)


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