The head of Venezuela's central bank Calixto Ortega, traveled to London in mid-December to seek access to the nation's assets, admitting defeat this week after U.S. officials asserted pressure on their British counterparts, to prevent the release of US$1.2 billion in gold.
Venezuela to Boost Gold Despite US Sanctions
Bloomberg reported that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the national security advisor to President Donald Trump, John Bolton, pressured their British counterparts to freeze the Venezuelan assets. The move was supported by opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido, who illegally declared himself "interim president" this past week, in an unconstitutional move that was endorsed by Trump himself.
Earlier this week, democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro denounced the U.S. for initializing a coup d'état against Venezuela, using "democracy" as a faux objective for the actual desire of access tpVenezuelan energy and mineral resources, such as oil, gas, and gold.
In a recent teleSUR analysis article, Why Is Venezuela a Key Geopolitical Target for The US? the author cites Maduro's claim that "They have the ambition for oil, gas and gold. We tell them: these riches are not yours, they are for the people of Venezuela and that's how it will be forever," he said in a speech moments after Guaido declared himself "interim President."
Maduro also slammed the U.S. for endorsing Guaido, and ordered its diplomats to leave Venezuela.
According to RT, Venezuela holds more than $8 billion in foreign reserves. The amount of Venezuelan gold kept in the Bank of England doubled in recent months, growing from 14 to 31 tons.
In November of last year, it was reported that Nicolas Maduro planned to certify 32 gold fields in an attempt to avoid sanctions placed by the U.S. “Everything suggests that Venezuela will be the second biggest gold reserve on planet Earth,” he said during a televised speech.
Maduro, along with his economic team, announced Venezuela is installing 54 gold processing plants with new technologies to avoid the polluting use of mercury. According to their predictions, the plants will bring Venezuela about five billion dollars in 2019.
The Bank of England, along with press officials for Pompeo, declined to comment on this weeks' most recent revelations.