© Reuters. A man walks in front of the Central Bank of Venezuela in Caracas
CARACAS (Reuters) – Lawyers for Venezuela’s central bank said on Thursday that they sought to negotiate a deal with opposition leader Juan Guaidó to buy coronavirus vaccines in the UK, but that the opposition rejected the deal. In a statement, lawyers said that the bank, whose board of directors was appointed by President Nicolás Maduro, requested the support of an ad-hoc board of the central bank appointed by Guaidó to transfer $ 120 million in funds frozen in Britain to Gavi, an alliance that seeks to improve. access to vaccines in poor countries. “Due to international sanctions, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Venezuela have worsened and the government of President Maduro has not been able to make the payment to Gavi to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines by any other means.” said central bank lawyers in Zaiwalla. & Co wrote in a statement. A representative for Guaidó did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The opposition argues that cutting off Maduro’s access to the funds is justified because it would use the money for corrupt purposes, rather than helping Venezuelans suffering a humanitarian crisis and economic collapse. Guaidó is recognized by dozens of countries, including the United Kingdom, as the legitimate leader of Venezuela after Maduro’s disputed re-election in 2018. The two sides are locked in a court battle in London over which side can access more than $ 1,000. million in Venezuelan gold stored in the Bank of England. The Maduro-aligned central bank has previously sought access to funds to help combat coronavirus efforts. The opposition said in early January that it had reached an agreement to participate in Covax, one of Gavi’s facilities to provide vaccines, but did not provide details. Maduro has said Venezuela will shortly receive some 10 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. The South American country has reported 117,811 coronavirus cases and 1,084 deaths.