Venezuelan official says Brazil will help end shortages

Diosdado Cabello

CARACAS - Venezuela has received pledges of support from the Brazilian government and businessmen to help end the country's food and medicine shortages, the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly said Wednesday.

Diosdado Cabello, regarded as Venezuela's second most powerful man, headed a delegation to meet with authorities and corporate leaders and reach agreements that would send Brazilian products to end shortages.

"We are confident that with the support of businessmen and the Brazilian government that the situation in Venezuela can be overcome," Cabello told Venezuelan media while on a visit to Sao Paulo.

Cabello said that Brazil's large economy is already producing much of what Venezuela needs.

Venezuela's economy has been spiraling as it faces a drop in international oil prices and currency shortfalls leading to major shortages of basic staples and huge inflation.

President Nicolas Maduro has attributed the shortages, which have left things like cigarettes and diapers in short supply, on an economic war against his government.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Cabello is one of several senior Venezuelan officials being investigated by US authorities for alleged involvement in drug trafficking.