- The US government is targeting entities facilitating trade between Iran and Venezuela.
- Switzerland has delivered aid to Venezuela.
- Venezuela is also seeking access to its gold reserves.
Iran is reportedly sending a ship ferrying cargo to Venezuela. The move comes amidst growing sanctions on vessels and companies involved in facilitating bilateral trade between the two nations. Last week, the US Treasury Department enacted sanctions targeting four shipping companies.
Two of them have since been removed from the list after offering to stop cooperation with both Iran and Venezuela. The latest consignment reportedly consists of repair parts for a Venezuelan oil refinery. Due to US embargoes, Venezuela has been unable to obtain chemical reagents needed to refine its oil. It has also been unable to access spare parts for its oil production facilities.
The Trump administration is looking to frustrate Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s regime, which has been accused of systemic corruption and human rights violations. The US government is backing the country’s opposition leader, Juan Guaidó.
Maduro, who is supported by the Venezuelan military, has been able to hold on to power despite numerous asset freezes and extensive economic sanctions. They have gutted the country, and made it hard to overcome major crises such as the current coronavirus scourge. Some nations have stepped up to provide humanitarian aid during these dire times.
Switzerland Delivers Humanitarian Aid to Venezuela
While the US has been focused on crippling President Maduro’s administration, some nations, such as Switzerland, have moved to provide badly-needed humanitarian aid to the nation.
Last week, Switzerland, which is a non–aligned nation, flew in approximately 100 tons of humanitarian aid into the country. The cargo consisted of medical supplies to help the country overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Swiss government has coordinated the efforts with major international aid agencies, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in this endeavor. The aid delivery is estimated to be worth about $2.1 million.
With the Maduro government being largely unrecognized by major western powers, the county has been unable to get the support it needs during these treacherous times.
The latest aid consignment from Switzerland consists of personal protective kits for medical practitioners, medicine, and equipment needed to purify drinking water that will be able to help over 1 million people. This is according to a statement issued by the Swiss foreign ministry.
Venezuela Seeks Access to Its Gold Reserves
President Maduro’s government is currently seeking access to its gold reserves being held by the Bank of England, valued at about $1.9 billion. The claim is being challenged by opposition leader Guaido, who says that the gold is under his control.
Britain currently recognizes Guaido as the nation’s rightful leader. A UK court is set to make a ruling on who owns the gold a few months from now. The Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV) has sued the British Bank for refusing access to the reserves.
Lawyers representing the Venezuelan government say that the gold will be used to fund badly needed humanitarian projects in the country.