Posts Tagged ‘Juan Guaidó’

Bank of England Told Return Venezuela’s Gold

Wednesday, February 7th, 2024

Bank of England Told Return Venezuela’s Gold: Back in 1980 the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) deposited almost a hundred tons of the Venezuelan government’s gold reserves in the Bank of England for safe keeping, and around 31 tons of that are still held in the Bank’s vaults.The value of gold goes up and down, but the around 2,500 standard gold bars would be worth around £1.3 billion.

Bank of England Told Return Venezuela's Gold
Ken Livingstone

In 2019, shortly before this protest on Thursday 7th Feb 2019 organised by the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, the BCV asked to have its gold back and the Bank of England refused to return it. It is still their in its vaults.

Bank of England Told Return Venezuela's Gold
An actual gold bar weighs over 12kg – these were rather lighter

Venezuela had entered a crisis after the 2018 elections when the National Assembly declared the poll which had elected President Maduro invalid. There had been some irregularities in how the election had been run (and many unproven allegations) and some parties had boycotted the polls or not been allowed to stand. The turnout was low, with less than half of those registered voting, but even so the result seemed clear as Nicolás Maduro had gained two thirds of the votes cast, more than three times his closest rival.

Bank of England Told Return Venezuela's Gold

Juan Guaidó and the National Assembly declared him to be the acting president of Venezuela in January 2019 and a long power struggle ensued. Many foreign governments, led by the US and including the UK, Canada and various Latin American and European countries recognised Guaidó as the head of the legitimate Venezuelan government, though after his interim government was dissolved in January 2021, many ended their recognition.

Bank of England Told Return Venezuela's Gold

After a disputed period in 2019 to 2023 Maduro is now firmly back as President with Guaidó expelled from Venezuela in April 2023 and now living in exile in Florida. The UK had supported Guaidó but its position now seems deliberately unclear.

Both Maduro and Guaidó had set up their own governing boards for the Central Bank, and both claimed the gold in the Bank of England leading to a number of battles in the UK courts. But although Maduro has clearly emerged as the legitimate leader of Venezuela the Bank of England is still refusing the BCV request – and will probably continue to do so until the UK government makes its position clear.

Ken Livingstone when Mayor of London had negotiated a deal with the Venezuelan state oil company to provide cheap fuel for London buses in exchange for help with urban planning. Later he blamed an “establishment elite” for the problems that Maduro was having and accused the US of meddling in the country.

Media coverage of the struggle between Maduro and Guaidó in the UK by the BBC and newspapers was almost entirely one-sided, largely relying on the views of the Venezuelan middle and upper classes who see themselves as severely threatened by the policies of Hugo Chávez and his successor Maduro who have done much to increase literacy and improve conditions for the poorest in the country.

Bank of England return Venezuela’s Gold

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