President Maduro accuses US of seeking to destroy Venezuela-backed CLAP food aid program

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Caracas, May 24: Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday alleged the United States was seeking to destroy a food aid program which the government says feeds more than 6 million families in crisis-stricken nation.

According to Reuters news reports, the US was preparing potential criminal charges and sanctions against Venezuela’s officials and people suspected of using a food program for cash flow for the Maduro government, as per sources familiar with the issue said on Thursday.

According to the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, the measures against the food program, also known by its Spanish acronym CLAP in Venezuela, are likely to be enacted within the 90-day period.

“(The U.S.) is preparing sanctions to destroy the CLAP system,” said Maduro during a televised broadcast which the military high command has accompanied.

While referring to the CLAP program, Maduro said, “Do what you want to do, Venezuela will continue with the Local Supply and Production Committees.”

The US state department was not immediately available to offer any response to an email seeking its comments.

The CLAP program uses to sell food aid at subsidized prices which include powdered milk, pasta, oil, and rice. Few of the products delivered to humanitarian crisis-hit nations are imported from nations such as Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Turkey.

In 2016, the Venezuelan president launched the program in response to a chronic food shortage and prices hike, as the nation struggled under severe economic backdrop and hyperinflation.

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