Venezuela denounces blocking of payments for vaccines

By Jorge Jraissati

CARACAS, Venezuela (AA) – Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said Thursday that the COVAX system informed his government that funds deposited to purchase coronavirus vaccines were “blocked by an international bank and are under investigation."

A letter sent by COVAX to the Venezuelan government was released on Twitter by Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza.

It details that Swiss Bank UBS blocked more than $10 million, which was transferred from Venezuela to COVAX’s bank accounts.

In April, the Venezuelan government announced the transfer of more than $120 million to acquire 11 million vaccine doses from COVAX, which would be enough to vaccine 20% of the population.

But the letter said only $110 million were successfully transferred.

The remaining amount was blocked by the Swiss bank before reaching the bank accounts of COVAX.

The COVAX letter also appreciated Venezuela’s "collaboration and effort" to "meet the financial requirements” to purchase 11 million vaccines.

"Venezuela has paid all of its commitments with the Covax mechanism to acquire vaccines. However, the bank has arbitrarily blocked the latest payments and they are under investigation. A crime,” Arreaza said on Twitter.

Rodriguez said that “no one can deny that these unilateral coercive measures are criminal,” referring to the sanctions by the US imposed on her government.

"Venezuela was excluded from the international financial system, it has been the victim of aggression by this predatory policy against the validity of human rights," she added.