UK hijacks Venezuelan gold reserves at Guaido’s request

After Nicolas Maduro’s government requested access to more than $1,000 million in Venezuelan gold reserves stored in the secret vaults of the Bank of England, the United Kingdom’s High Court rejected that request on Friday.

Adrian Rios Pinchera

Venezuela’s gold reserves have been the subject of a dispute between President Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized by Britain as interim president. Both Maduro and Guaido appointed different boards of directors of the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) and both issued instructions on managing gold reserves.

The Supreme Court of Justice of Venezuela (TSJ) ruled to reduce Guaido’s interference in the reserves, and decided to transfer the gold to Caracas, but British Judge Sarah Cockrell rejected the Venezuelan state’s sovereign decision. Cockrell says there is “clear evidence” that the High Court of Justice was made up of pro-government judges, and furthermore, British law did not recognize the panel’s decisions. Although the ruling marked a victory for Guaido, the judge did not authorize access to the reserves for the opposition-controlled board, an issue that will have to be resolved in a new hearing.

Unsurprisingly, Guaido celebrated the decision as “another international victory for democracy and freedom,” adding that “this decision represents another step in the process of protecting and preserving Venezuela’s international gold reserves for the future.” The Venezuelan people and their future. On the other hand, the legal representative of the Venezuelan government announced that it will continue its efforts to access gold reserves. “This is an unfortunate ruling based on a complex legal issue related to the recognition of foreign judges,” Sarosh Ziwala, a representative of the Central Bank of Venezuela, noted, adding that “the ICC is considering an appeal.” The issue is of vital importance, as President Maduro’s legal team notes that the country is seeking to sell part of 31 tons of gold to fund its response to the pandemic and strengthen the health system in the South American country.

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It must be remembered that access to these reserves has been blocked since 2019, when several countries led by Washington and London backed Guaido in his sinister attempt to declare himself “interim president”, ignoring the 2018 elections that declared Maduro the winner. In fact, it was Guaidó who asked the Bank of England to block the Venezuelan government’s access to gold reserves, which is why the BCV sued the Bank of England to regain control.

It escalates to unexpected proportions, because according to legal experts consulted by the BBC, a case in which one country’s highest court interprets another’s constitution is unprecedented.

It should be noted that Venezuela has been storing gold for decades, forming part of its reserves in foreign banks in Europe and the United States, a procedure that many countries apply. Great powers have the ability to protect their own reserves, and owning reserves elsewhere is a strategy that small countries adopt, contemplating the best protection for those large.

The presidency of Hugo Chavez returned about 160 tons of gold, during 2011, from banks in the United States and the European Union to the Central Bank of Caracas, arguing that the country should have effective control over the assets, and accountability to the sovereignty. practice about.

Delcy Rodriguez, Vice President of Venezuela and Minister of Economy and Finance, noted that “the decision of the British court is really subject to, and subject to, the decisions of the British Crown, their muzzle. Decisions that can be excessive and not compatible with any kind of judicial oversight ».

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Rodriguez considers a categorical position with the United Kingdom: “They have the opportunity to correct and correct, to resume the correct path associated with public international law, with the Charter of the United Nations. It is a message we send to the British government not to continue with this strange behavior of pretending that Juan Guaido is a head of state, which he is not and never will be, because the Venezuelan people know very well the damage he has caused. Calling for invasion, assassinations, crimes, and an economic blockade.”

It is paradoxical that while Juan Guaido has less international weight, the UK is insisting on a measure, like this, that he is sponsoring. In January 2021, the European Union withdrew its recognition of the “interim president” of Guaido, in addition, a few weeks ago, negotiations for the supply of Venezuelan oil to the European space were recognized in the face of Russian supply disruptions.

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