The socialist regime in Venezuela recently sold $400 million in gold despite U.S. efforts to freeze all its international assets, according to a report from Bloomberg on Tuesday.
Sources who spoke with Bloomberg’s Patricia Laya claimed the regime successfully sold off around nine tons of gold worth $400 million as they desperately scramble for cash to help alleviate the country’s ongoing economic and humanitarian crisis. The sale was also reflected by a drop in the regime’s overall foreign reserves revealed by data provided by the Venezuelan Central Bank on April 12th showing a fall to $8.6 billion, of which around $5.1 billion is gold.
The reported sale of gold suggests that the regime has found a way around economic sanctions imposed by the United States, which has attempted to freeze its foreign assets. As a result, Maduro has been forced to sell reserves at cut down prices to other authoritarian regimes such as China, Russia, and Turkey.
The U.S. has also imposed a range of sanctions against Venezuela’s gold industry. Last month, the Treasury Department targeted the state-run gold mining company Minerven, seizing all their U.S.-based assets and prohibiting Americans from dealing with them in any financial capacity. Last November, the Trump administration also levied sanctions against all Venezuela’s gold exports in an attempt to squeeze the regime’s external revenues.
In January, the Bank of England refused to hand over around $1.2 billion of Venezuelan owned gold from its vaults, citing the destruction of democracy at the hands of the Maduro regime. Like the U.S., the United Kingdom has recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president and as such has promised to release the assets when a transition to democracy is complete.
In Venezuela, Maduro recently removed at least eight tons of gold, worth around $300 million, from Venezuela’s central bank. It is understood the gold was quickly sold abroad to help fund essential supplies, although such sums are unlikely to have any major impact on alleviating the country’s dire humanitarian crisis or its billions of dollars of foreign debt.
The situation in Venezuela is now so dire that over eight million people are expected to flee the country within the next four years. As well as chronic shortages of living essentials such as food and medicine, there have recently been prolonged nationwide power outages that have destroyed its overall ability to function.