Bank of England: Give Venezuela Back Its Gold!
(June 24, 2020) — Venezuela is suing the Bank of England over $1.2 million in gold that was frozen in January 2019. New evidence reveals that this was a political decision — contradicting the Bank’s own policy! Tell the Bank of England to release Venezuela’s gold!
In January 2019, the Bank of England froze over $1.2 billion worth of Venezuela’s gold, refusing to release it to the democratically elected government and contributing to the deadly economic crisis caused by the Trump administration’s ongoing regime change efforts. Now Venezuela is suing the Bank of England and the trial is happening this week!
The Venezuelan government isn’t even asking that the money be returned to them. Instead, they want the funds transferred to the United Nations Development Program so that this UN agency can buy food and medicine on behalf of the country to help it weather the COVID-19 pandemic.
ACTION: Venezuela needs its gold to fight COVID-19 and feed the Venezuelan people! Join us in telling the Bank of England to release the funds regardless of what the court decides; the lives of Venezuelans depend on it!
The Trump administration has been working since 2017 to get other countries to join its cruel sanctions. The United Kingdom was one of the first countries to heed the call, disregarding the unconscionable cost to human life and Venezuela’s economy. Ordinary people shouldn’t have to suffer because the Bank of England decided to play politics instead of acting like a bank should.
The Bank of England claims to be independent, but thanks to former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s new book, we’ve just learned that the decision to freeze Venezuela’s gold was entirely political! In 2019, then UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was “delighted to cooperate” with the Trump administration’s regime change scheme. He had the Bank of England freeze the gold as a means of destroying the Venezuela economy.
It is unconscionable that the British government is fighting in court to keep Venezuela’s gold frozen in the Bank of England. The Venezuelan economy has been battered by sanctions for over three years, claiming the lives of 100,000 people and devastating the nation’s economy. The Bank of England should play not any role in the Trump administration’s efforts at overthrowing any government, let alone one that was democratically elected.
Watch: Michelle’s interview with Calixto Ortega, president of Venezuela’s Central Bank, on CODEPINK’s weekly WTF is Going on in Latin America webinar, where they discuss the Bank of England case, the Venezuelan economy and the deadly sanctions.
The Bank of England’s claims that it is fully independent from “day-to-day political influence” are contradicted by its actions, and instead appear to be coordinated with those of the British government.
For example,former US National Security Advisor John Bolton, in his new book, claims that then-UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was “delighted to cooperate” with the Trump administration’s efforts to strangle the Venezuelan economy. Moreover, through the UK’s Freedom of Information Act, journalist John McEvoy revealed the existence of a secretive ‘Unit for the Reconstruction of Venezuela’, through which the UK government has been actively participating in regime change.
The British government’s argument in court revolves around who the legitimate president of Venezuela is. This is flawed in its conception — it is not up to the United Kingdom to determine another country’s president, it is up to the voters of the country. In 2018, Venezuelan voters re-elected President Nicolás Maduro to another five year term.
Juan Guaidó, the self-proclaimed interim president, was not elected. His alleged “ambassador” to the UK does not have diplomatic credentials nor access to the country’s diplomatic properties. Furthermore, the UK continues to have its ambassador and embassy functioning in Caracas. Even if it were up to the UK to determine another country’s president, it is clear that the British government continues to engage in diplomatic relations with the legitimate government of President Maduro.
Finally, the Venezuelan government is not asking for the gold to be returned, but rather for it to be transferred to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The UNDP will then use the funds to purchase food, medicine and humanitarian supplies for Venezuela to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that the Bank of England will take this into consideration. If it does not and continues freezing Venezuela’s gold, who knows how many deaths will be on its hands.
We’ve been asking the UK to return Venezuela’s gold since September, but now is a good time to renew the call given the ongoing trial. We’ve teamed up with Francisco Dominguez, a peace activist with the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign in the UK who will present the petition to the Bank of England once coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
The sanctions against the Venezuelan people are brutal — an estimated 100,000 people have died due to them since 2017. Releasing Venezuela’s gold will go a long way towards ensuring that the country’s coronavirus pandemic is kept under control.
In solidarity with the Venezuelan people,
Leonardo, Medea, Teri and Michelle