Britain Sides with Guaido in Venezuelan Gold Dispute

  • The Venezuelan gold is currently in a safe of the Bank of England.
  • Venezuela's central bank has called on the British government to return the gold to Maduro to fight the consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • Britain recognizes Juan Guaido's government in Venezuela, and does not consider Maduro president.

A British court has ruled against an application by Venezuela’s central bank for a refund of €890 million in gold reserves. According to the ruling by the British high court, Venezuela’s existing gold reserves in the UK will be given to the parallel government of Venezuela, led by Juan Guaido.

Juan Guaidó is a Venezuelan politician serving since 3 January 2019 as acting President of Venezuela. This started the Venezuelan presidential crisis by challenging Nicolás Maduro’s presidency.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido is the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, and self-proclaimed interim president, recognized by some 60 countries over the government of Nicolas Maduro. The Venezuelan gold is currently in a safe of the Bank of England.

Venezuela’s central bank has called on the British government to return the gold to Maduro to fight the consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic. The Bank of England has refused to return the reserves because the parallel government of Venezuela, led by Guaido, has also applied for the gold.

The Maduro regime then sued the Bank of England, demanding the return of the country’s gold. Judges of the British high court say the country recognizes Juan Guaido’s government in Venezuela, and does not consider Maduro president. Maduro’s lawyers also quickly announced that they would appeal.

Continuation of the Power Struggle

The National Electoral Council of Venezuela has announced a date for parliamentary elections, December 6, regardless of the Coronavirus crisis. This has put Guaido at a crossroads. The members of the Electoral Council are loyal to Maduro.

Maduro’s opponents in the South American country are in danger of losing their last base with this election. The National Assembly is the only government body in Venezuela that is currently under opposition control. Its power has also been largely symbolic since 2017, when Maduro usurped its power and gave it to the Constituent Assembly, which is packed with his supporters.

If Guaido boycotts the election, he will run the risk of losing his legitimacy. However, he has so far spoken of not running in the election. Guaido wrote in a tweet that Venezuelans have decided to live in a democracy. Venezuela, rich in raw material resources, is now mired in a deep political and economic crisis that has worsened with the outbreak of coronavirus.

Venezuela’s health system is paralyzed, and the country is short of food, drinking water, medicine, and fuel. Power outages have become commonplace, with many doctors and millions of Venezuelans leaving the country. Many politicians and members of the military have also been involved in criminal activities, such as illegal mining and drug trafficking.

Nicolás Maduro is a Venezuelan politician serving as president of Venezuela since 2013. His presidency has been disputed by Juan Guaidó since January 2019.

A year and a half ago, Juan Guaido openly challenged Maduro and tried to overthrow him. Many countries, including Germany and the United States, recognize Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela.

Despite international support, however, Guaido has so far failed to achieve his goal. Maduro is still in power with the support of the military, police, and allies such as Russia and China.

In addition, Guaido has found another competitor. Venezuela’s National Assembly split in January, with supporters on one side and opponents of Maduro’s government on the other.

Representatives of Venezuela’s ruling United Socialist Party and members of the opposition coalition elected Louise Parra as President of the National Assembly in January, declaring that they would no longer recognize Guaido as head of the Assembly.

About 100 opposition members also approved Guaido’s presidency of the National Assembly in parallel. For this reason, whether or not a parliamentary election fails, it could weaken Guaido.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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