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LatinNews Daily - 03 June 2020

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In brief: Humanitarian co-operation deal signed in Venezuela

* Venezuela's communications minister, Jorge Rodríguez, has confirmed that the country’s de facto government and opposition have reached an agreement to allow the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), who brokered the deal, to oversee the humanitarian response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) health emergency in Venezuela. The de facto government led by Nicolás Maduro and the opposition led by Juan Guaidó (who is recognised by over 50 countries as Venezuela’s interim president) have both repeatedly emphasised the urgent need for international humanitarian aid, but political deadlock had until now undermined any prospect of co-operation in the face of the pandemic. The sticking point had been the use of funds controlled by the opposition, with Maduro refusing to allow Guaidó to administer any humanitarian response, and Guaidó reluctant to cede control to international organisations, for fear that the government would try to seize these funds. However, with both sides under growing pressure from civil society and the international community to co-operate, Rodríguez confirmed that “both parties propose to work in co-ordination and with the support of PAHO in the search for financial resources that contribute to strengthening the country’s response capacities”, while the Guaidó camp said that the agreement represented “a technical co-operation plan to address the humanitarian crisis of the coronavirus”.