President Nicolas Maduro has called for the United States to grant his request for $4 billion in aid to aid the struggling country in its efforts to rebuild after months of shortages and economic hardships.
The Venezuelan leader also said that the money would be allocated to food distribution and nutrition programs in the country.
The President made the announcement in a tweet Sunday, after receiving a request for an emergency $4 million appropriation from Congress for Venezuela’s crisis.
“We have asked the United Kingdom and other countries to lend us $4,5 billion in emergency aid,” Maduro said.
“This will help us fight hunger, hunger, and poverty.”
The Venezuelan president also asked Congress to give the funds to “real food” programs, including food distribution, nutrition and other initiatives.
“Food is our basic human right, the food that sustains the life of all of us,” Maduro told a meeting of his National Assembly, which was scheduled to meet for the first time since his inauguration on January 20.
“The food that the poor receive and the people who work for them need to be provided with all the food they need,” he added.
“If this is not enough, we have a lot more work to do.”
Maduro has previously asked Congress for $2.8 billion in humanitarian aid, and $400 million more in food aid.
He has also called for additional aid to be given to the impoverished population of Venezuela in response to rising prices and shortages.
In October, the government granted Maduro the emergency funds, but it was delayed due to lack of funding.
Maduro has been struggling to rebuild Venezuela’s once-prosperous economy since the 2013 ouster of his predecessor Hugo Chavez.
The country has faced a steep drop in global oil prices and has suffered from severe shortages of basic goods like food and medicine.
The economic crisis has led to more than 300,000 deaths since Maduro took office in late 2014.
In the first three months of 2017, the Venezuelan economy contracted by a staggering $3.2 billion, according to the government.
The U.S. has been Venezuela’s biggest economic backer, and the country’s president, Nicolás Maduro, has been critical of Washington’s role in supporting his government.
In his first speech as president on January 6, Maduro urged U.N. member states to “not interfere in our internal affairs” and to “give us the means to fight terrorism.”
and other Western countries have called on Maduro to halt his economic policies.
On Thursday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Maduro of “serious consequences” if he continued his policies.
“He is the leader of a country in dire straits,” Johnson said.