Francisco Rodríguez asks Maduro and Guaidó for an agreement to guarantee access to the COVID-19 vaccine in Venezuela
The director of Oil for Venezuela, Francisco Rodríguez, proposed this Thursday a political agreement between the administrations of Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaidó, in order to guarantee some 15 million COVID- 19 vaccine doses , necessary to definitively stop the COVID-19 epidemic, thus avoiding a greater economic catastrophe in a country that is already suffering the consequences of one of the worst economic contractions in world history.
In an open letter addressed to both Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaidó, Rodríguez explained that ensuring the arrival of the vaccine to the country would cost between 70 and 350 million dollars. «This is a difficult amount to mobilize for our country due to the strong cash limitations imposed by the national and world economic crisis, the fall in oil prices, and economic sanctions.»
The solution proposed by the economist is for both administrations to agree to a joint request to dispose of part of the Venezuelan gold in custody at the Bank of England, which is valued at about $ 1.98 billion. Rodríguez explained that the litigation in the English courts for the control of these resources could take months, and even years, when this could guarantee the acquisition of vaccines with proven effectiveness for the Venezuelan population.
“The only mechanism that would allow the immediate use of these resources to attend to our nation’s health emergency would be the signing of an agreement between the administrations that you lead that allows the Bank of England to communicate the intention of your two governments to use those resources. jointly to face the COVID-19 crisis. Such an agreement must be duly notified to the English courts, as well as to the financial regulatory institutions of countries whose financial system would be used to purchase the vaccines ”, reads the letter.
Rodríguez also proposes the creation of an expert medical panel, in charge of evaluating the different vaccines that will be available in order to make the best decision regarding health security for the Venezuelan people. This recommendation would also be advised on the economic issue, in order to guarantee the best use of the resources requested from the Bank of England.
“Although Nicolás Maduro has declared that Venezuela will have access to the Russian vaccine, we will still have to pay for those doses, and it might not be the best decision both in terms of health and economics. This panel of experts that we propose will ensure that Venezuelans can trust the vaccine that is purchased and that it is made in the best economic conditions for the country, ”Rodríguez said.
The director of Oil For Venezuela proposes that the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) be responsible for the purchase and distribution of vaccines, to ensure transparency in the use of resources. This distribution must be carried out in a depoliticized way, ensuring access to all Venezuelans who need it.
During 2020, Rodríguez and Oil For Venezuela have proposed -to Maduro and Guaidó- direct allocation programs to Venezuelan families, both in Venezuela and abroad, to alleviate the adverse effects of the coronavirus epidemic, mainly in Latin America. In addition, a gasoline purchase program was proposed to CITGO as part of a political agreement to lessen the effects of the inoperability of the Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) refineries due to lack of investment and maintenance.