Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro formally requested economic assistance from the International Monetary Fund as the socialist South American nation prepares to combat COVID-19.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza posted the letter dated March 15, 2020, from Maduro on Twitter.
In the letter, Maduro requests $5 billion from the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument in order to “strengthen our detection and response systems.”
However, the political turmoil that has rocked Venezuela for years creates a significant snag with the request. Specifically, the issue of who exactly is in a position to request funds from the IMF.
In a statement posted by Associated Press reporter Joshua Goodman on Twitter, the IMF says that they received the request from Maduro but are unable to consider it.
The request comes as Latin American nations confirm more and more cases of COVID-19. According to the latest data from the World Health Organization, there are 33 confirmed cases of the disease in Venezuela.