CARACAS, Oct 6 (Reuters) – Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said on Wednesday that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has not yet delivered funds under a program to help countries battle the COVID-19 pandemic, amid a dispute over the government’s legitimacy.
In August, the IMF authorized Venezuela to receive around $5 billion in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) as part of a $650 billion global effort to boost liquidity for the world’s most vulnerable countries, but said it could not use them because of questions about whether President Nicolas Maduro or opposition leader Juan Guaido was the rightful leader. read more
Guaido, recognized by the United States as Venezuela’s legitimate president, said last month the two sides would discuss access to the SDRs at an internationally-mediated negotiation process in Mexico City to resolve the South American country’s protracted political crisis.
Rodriguez said at the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development that the country had not yet received the funds, blaming a U.S. “veto.”
The United States, the IMF’s largest shareholder, has sanctioned Venezuelan state institutions in a push to oust Maduro, a socialist who it accuses of election-rigging and rights violations. Maduro denies the accusations.
“Venezuela reiterates its denunciation that the IMF refuses to deliver our people the $5 billion our country is owed to fight the pandemic,” Rodriguez said.
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.
Venezuela’s central bank in September reported an increase in reserves of $5.1 billion, roughly equivalent to the value of the new SDRs, but did not specify the origin of the funds. Its reserves totaled $11.2 billion on Tuesday, central bank data showed.
Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Aurora Ellis and Paul Simao
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Venezuela says IMF has not delivered COVID-19 funds amid dispute – Reuters