BYPASSING SANCTIONS: Venezuela sells gold worth US $40 million despite US efforts to avoid it

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CARACAS – Washington has introduced harsh sanctions against the Venezuelan economy, further aggravating the current economic crisis in the South American country in an attempt to force President Maduro to resign.

Last July 12, Venezuela was able to sell gold worth about $40 million, according to the Bloomberg news agency, despite US efforts to halt the sale of the precious metal by the Nicolas Maduro government.

The metal has served as a financial lifeline for the devastated country, which is under intense pressure from sanctions imposed by the United States. According to the media, the Venezuelan Central Bank still has US$8.1 billion in gold reserves, thus approaching the lowest mark of the last 30 years.

It is noteworthy that, as the same agency had reported on June 4, Deutsche Bank confiscated 20 tons of gold from Venezuela for alleged noncompliance with payment of the $750 loan received in 2016.

Although the contract is only due to expire in 2021, the bank rescinded the contract earlier due to non-payment of interest. In the same vein, in March 2019, Citigroup bank seized Venezuelan gold deposited as collateral.

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Washington attempts to aggravate the crisis

Washington has long been looking for ways to limit Venezuela’s capacity by achieving different levels of success. For example, the Bank of England rejected the request to transfer part of the Venezuelan gold reserves in 2019 allegedly due to pressure from US authorities.

The White House’s attempts to bar the sale of Venezuelan gold are part of its effort to put pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and make him resign, stifling the country’s economy with sanctions.

Venezuela is undergoing a very intense political-economic crisis since January this year after Guaidó proclaimed himself acting president in an attempt to oust Maduro. The US recognized Guaidó and began imposing sanctions on Venezuela, freezing billions of dollars in Venezuelan assets.

In turn, Maduro called Guaidó a puppet of the United States and accused the Americans of orchestrating a coup in Venezuela to force a change of government and to claim vast natural resources of the country.

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