The United States has relaxed economic sanctions against the Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela, allowing certain transactions to facilitate the fight against Covid-19 in the country.
Without suspending the punitive measures imposed on Caracas, the government of Joe Biden issued, Thursday (17), licenses authorizing the delivery of masks, respirators and oxygen bottles, as well as vaccines, detection tests and other hospital materials for respond to health crisis.
The Treasury Department said the move responded to a memorandum released by Biden when he took office in January, which called for a review of all sanctions that could “unduly hamper” the fight against the pandemic.
“These new permits will further support the crucial work of governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and private sector actors to provide assistance related to Covid-19,” the Treasury said in a statement.
Washington, which does not recognize Maduro’s re-election as fraudulent, has increased economic sanctions and
diplomatic pressure against Caracas in January 2019, when the socialist ran for a second term.
Among the measures taken by Donald Trump’s administration is a de facto embargo on Venezuelan oil, crucial for the economy of the former oil power. Maduro denounces the US sanctions as a “crime against humanity”.
The US Treasury said the permits issued Thursday do not authorize the export of any goods, technology or services to the Venezuelan military, law enforcement or intelligence personnel.
Transactions involving the state-owned oil company PDVSA, nor the Economic and Social Development Bank of Venezuela (Bands), Bandes Uruguay or other entities that own them are not green light, he said.
Treasury sanctions prohibit access to the US financial system and block all possible assets that those involved have under US jurisdiction.
Venezuela, with 30 million inhabitants, is experiencing a strong wave of pandemic which weighs on health centers.
Last week, Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez said that $ 10 million intended for the global Covax system to access Covid vaccines had been “blocked” by a Swiss bank, delaying the purchasing process.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which facilitates the purchase of COVID-19 vaccination agents in the Americas, said on Wednesday it was waiting for debt cancellation to arrange delivery.
In addition to the health emergency, the country is plunged into a socio-economic crisis, worsened since Maduro came to power in 2013, a situation which, according to the UN, has caused the exodus of more than 5, 6 million people.