Venezuela blames US veto for delay in COVID-19 funds from IMF

Venezuela blames US veto for delay in COVID-19 funds from IMF
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Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez said that her country has not yet received funding from an International Monetary Funds (IMF) program meant to help countries combat COVID-19 due to disputes about the government's legitimacy, according to report from Reuters.  

Rodríguez has blamed the lack of funding access on the United States' veto while speaking at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

The U.S. is the IMF's largest shareholder, and it has sanctioned Venezuelan institutions in an effort to get rid of President Nicolás Maduro, a socialist whom the U.S. has accused of election-rigging and violating of human rights.

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"Venezuela reiterates its denunciation that the IMF refuses to deliver our people the $5 billion our country is owed to fight the pandemic," Rodríguez said.

The IMF had previously granted Venezuela $5 billion in funding as part of its $650 billion global effort to help poorer countries fight back against the coronavirus pandemic. However, Venezuela has been prevented from using the funds over questions about who is Venezuela's rightful leader. 

Juan Guaidó is recognized by the United States as the rightful Venezuelan leader and said in September that access to the funds would be discussed at an internationally mediated negotiation in Mexico City, where talks have previously been held over similar matters. 

A State Department spokesperson said Thursday that the agency was aware of statements made by Rodríguez but that only governments recognized by the IMF could access funding from the IMF. 

"We welcome further agreement among all political actors in Venezuela to allow for unfettered and transparent access to humanitarian assistance," the State Department said in a statement Thursday.