BoE refuses to release around US$1.13 billion of gold reserves which the South American nation could use to fight the health emergency derived from the COVID-19 outbreak. Venezuela is seeking to get a court order for the urgent release of about US$930 million.
Those funds will be transferred directly to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and used to acquire “healthcare equipment, medicines, and basic foodstuffs,” representatives said.
A few weeks ago, BCV President Calixto Ortega explained that UNDP will receive those funds and that it will be used for humanitarian purposes only.
"We agreed with the UNDP that they would receive the funds directly," Ortega explained. "It's not my word, it's not that I'm saying I'm going to buy food, medicine, and medical equipment. It is the United Nations that is saying it and they are not going to lend themselves to anything shady, anything that is not neutral, independent."
The British government's position of not recognizing President Nicolas Maduro's administration drove BoE to take this measure of freezing the funds. Caracas accused this financial institution of been in alliance with opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido to strip Venezuela of its assets and create chaos in the country.
According to BCV's legal representatives "(...), the nation’s gold reserves in the Bank of England are being held hostage to political factors dictated by the foreign policy of the United States and certain of its allies. In the meantime, there is a very real risk that the people of Venezuela will suffer."