Venezuela’s government and opposition have reached an agreement on a billion-dollar fund to help fight the humanitarian crisis in the South American country during talks that resumed on Saturday. International news agencies report that the parties have asked the United Nations to manage the fund. In response to the resumed negotiations between the Venezuelan government and the partly US-backed opposition – which had been at a standstill for more than a year – US President Joe Biden has announced sanctions relief for Venezuela.
The money for the emergency fund is currently in Venezuelan accounts in American and European banks, which froze the billions because of sanctions announced by Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, intended to force President Nicolás Maduro to free elections. The assets must now be released little by little, so that the Venezuelan crisis can be tackled. It is as yet unclear whether the American and European authorities have already given explicit permission for this.
The money is intended, among other things, to stabilize the Venezuelan electricity grid, improve education infrastructure and deal with the consequences of this year’s rainfall and flooding. The fund must also finance health and nutrition programs for the poorest Venezuelans. According to sources from the Reuters news agency, the total is about 3 billion euros.
‘A model for progress’
The European Union has responded positively to the agreement, saying in a statement that it “provides a model for further progress”. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the resumed negotiations, in which Norway is mediating, “an important step towards the restoration of democracy for Venezuelans.” Biden announced that it would allow US oil company Chevron to resume importing oil from Venezuela to the US.
According to UN estimates, more than 7.1 million Venezuelans have left their country since 2015 as a result of the economic and political malaise. The South American country is struggling with high inflation and food and medicine shortages, among other things.
#Venezuela #government #opposition #emergency #fund #Biden #announces #sanctions #relief