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Former Venezuelan Official Proposes Oil-for-Food Scheme

A former Venezuelan governor has proposed to the United Nations and the U.S. an oil-for-food program that he says will prevent famine in the crisis-stricken Latin American country that has the largest crude oil reserves in the world.

Reuters reports Henri Falcon, ex-governor of the Lara state in western Venezuela, had written to the UN and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs with the suggestion that U.S. sanctions against Venezuela were tweaked to accommodate the option of Venezuela exporting crude oil and getting paid for it in food and medicines.

The scheme is essentially the same that the UN implemented for Iraq following the introduction of sanctions against the Saddam Hussein government after its invasion of Kuwait in 1990. However, the Venezuelan opposition is divided on the idea.

According to some, the Maduro government will embezzle the money received in exchange for oil that is intended to be used for the imports of food and medicine.

“This program would not guarantee that the people would receive food because you have a structure of incentives to steal,” a member of parliament from Juan Guaido’s opposition party Popular Will told Reuters. The party is firmly focusing on removing Maduro from power as the only means of changing the situation in Venezuela for the better.

According to the author of the proposal, however, famine is a pressing matter.

“While politicians are seeking to distract attention exclusively, in some cases, toward the political element - but without results, without effect - people are still dying of hunger,” Henri Falcon said at a news conference and added that the country was “at the doors of famine.”

The United States imposed sweeping sanctions against Venezuela’s oil industry at the start of this year. Since then, production had fallen drastically with no crude going to U.S. Gulf refineries—once Venezuela’s biggest market.

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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