CARACAS – In the past two weeks, Venezuela has sold 15 tonnes of gold worth $570 million of the Central Bank’s reserves and has been able to circumvent US Treasury sanctions, Bloomberg quoted sources familiar with the subject as saying.
According to sources, on May 10 the Central Bank of Venezuela sold about 9.7 tons of gold and another four tons three days later; as a result, the country’s gold reserves fell to $7.9 billion, reaching its minimum value in 29 years.
According to one source, the proceeds will be partly be used to finance imports through the country’s foreign trade office. The country’s central bank has not yet commented on the matter.
The Bloomberg reported that since the beginning of April, Venezuela sold 23 tons of gold in the midst of a US economic blockade designed to stop the trade of the Latin American country operations.
The sale came after Venezuela announced plans to sell 15 tonnes of gold from the Central Bank to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that would be paid in cash in euros.
The goal was to sell a total of 29 tonnes of gold to Abu Dhabi to obtain liquidity for importing commodities.
Earlier, the Bank of England refused to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a request to hand over $1.2 billion in gold bars. The decision not to authorize the gold withdrawal was made after top US officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security adviser John Bolton, pressured their British counterparts to block Maduro’s access to assets abroad.
The US Treasury has imposed several sanctions packages on Venezuelan state-owned enterprises. The total damages of the US sanctions against Venezuela would already have surpassed $100 billion.
Venezuela has dealt with a serious political crisis, with opposition leader Juan Guaidó having proclaimed himself interim president of the country on January 23.
The US and several countries in Europe and Latin America, including Brazil, have recognized Guaidó as interim president of the country.
Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Turkey, Mexico, Iran and many other countries expressed their support for Maduro as legitimate president and demanded that other countries respect the principle of non-interference in Venezuelan internal affairs.