If there was any doubt about the desperate situation Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro finds himself in, his latest efforts to fund his government with the nation’s dwindling gold supply put those to rest.
At least eight tonnes of gold were removed from the country’s central bank vaults between Wednesday and Friday last week, as RAW reports from government sources.
The move is the latest sign that Maduro is looking for any possible measure to raise currency in Venezuela amidst sanctions.
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Maduro’s illegal attempt to save Venezuelan economy
Venezuelan Legislator Angel Avarado along with three other anonymous government sources, say that government vehicles were used to remove and transport the gold. During the removal, no security guards were present, and bank head Calixto Ortega was abroad at the time.
For Alvarado, these details led him to a reasonable conclusion about the gold, believing ‘they plan to sell it abroad illegally’. But neither he nor the other government sources could say exactly where this would be.
The central bank is yet to refute this claim.
According to Reuters, Maduro is also attempting to get their hands on around 30 tonnes of their gold held in the Bank of England’s vaults. They fear it will soon be inaccessible with the international sanctions placed on Venezuela.
However, on Wednesday at a UN meeting in Geneva, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said the Bank of England had blocked the Maduro government’s assets.
Vaulted gold at 75-year lows
As well as these sanctions — which are harming public income and credit access — this rush to de-bank and resell gold has derived from the falling oil production and economic collapse of Venezuela under Maduro’s leadership.
On top of this latest eight-tonne removal, around 20 tonnes were also removed throughout 2018, according to the central bank’s data.
This leaves only 140 tonnes remaining in the vaults, which is the lowest level it has been in the last 75 years.
The US, who are backing opposition leader Juan Guaido to overthrow Maduro, are calling all bankers and traders to avoid dealing in Venezuelan gold.
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