Venezuela demands US ‘unlock’ vaccine money

Venezuela demands US ‘unlock’ vaccine money

President Maduro says ‘COVAX system has no excuses for not sending’ vaccines

Jorge Jraissati

CARACAS, Venezuela (AA) - Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro demanded on Friday that US President Joe Biden “unlock the money for the vaccines” for the coronavirus.

Maduro’s statement came one day after his administration denounced the “blocking” of $10 million that was transferred from Venezuela to COVAX -- a system of the World Health Organization created to provide coronavirus vaccines to developing countries.

"I demand today, June 11, from Venezuela, that the government of Joe Biden cease its blocking of money from Venezuela for COVAX vaccines, that the government of Joe Biden unlocks the money of vaccines for the people of Venezuela," Maduro said in a television address.

Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza released a letter Thursday on Twitter that was sent by COVAX to his government.

It details that Swiss Bank UBS froze $10 million transferred from Venezuela to COVAX.

The letter said $110 million was transferred successfully, meaning the majority of the vaccines purchased should be sent to Venezuela.

Venezuela agreed with COVAX to purchase 11 million doses for $120 million.

Accordingly, the $110 million deposited by Venezuela should be enough for about 10 million doses.

Maduro said that COVAX had “enough money” to "immediately" start sending vaccines.

“The COVAX system has no excuses for not sending the vaccines to Venezuela," said Maduro.

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