Caracas/London: The Venezuelan Dictator Nicholas Maduro has demanded the Bank of England return the Venezuelan gold it holds as the country did not have sufficient funds to fight the Coronavirus. Therefore, the Venezuelan central bank has filed a legal claim with the Bank of England. The legal document states that the 31 tonnes of gold worth $1 billion must be returned to Venezuela as per the past agreement. Nearly nine years ago, the then Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, had initiated the campaign to repatriate 311 tones of the country’s gold from overseas. After that, Chavez attained success in bringing back almost 100 tonnes of gold to the country. However, some amount of gold is still on foreign land, of which 31 tonnes is with the Bank of England.
In the international markets, Venezuela’s 31 tonnes of gold is valued at over $1 billion. The claim filed by the Venezuelan central bank stated insufficient funds for fighting the Coronavirus as the reason for demanding the gold back. The claim further asserted that the funds acquired from selling the gold would be transferred to the European Union (EU) and used for the purchase of medicines and other medical supplies.
The Bank of England, however, has not commented on the matter. Also, the UK government refuses to recognise Maduro’s government. Sources have thus indicated that the UK government would not grant permission for the release of the Venezuelan gold.
Venezuela’s deceased dictator Chavez had brought back more than 100 tones of gold in the country. Nevertheless, Venezuela does not have much gold left as of now. In the last few years, Maduro had sought help from Russia, China, Iran and Turkey to maintain control over the government in Venezuela. In return, these countries are believed to have seized control of the Venezuelan gold reserves. Given the circumstances, the bid to repatriate gold from the Bank of England could very well be a strategy to fulfil the gold demands of the countries that support the Venezuelan dictator. Previously, despite receiving aid from other countries, Maduro did not make any efforts to improve the Venezuelan economy. As a result, Venezuela is in a state of anarchy with hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans displaced in other countries to seek refuge.
The inflation in Venezuela has severely flared up, one US dollar is worth 150,000 bolivars (Venezuelan currency). One litre of oil costs somewhere between 500,000 to 750,000 bolivars. Every week, Venezuela is experiencing a surge of 80% to 150% in the prices for essential commodities, taking the inflation levels to 4000%. Resultantly, the ordinary Venezuelan has been severely starved and has to struggle to secure daily meals.