Demonstrators chanting “No war on Venezuela!” descended on the Bank of England in London on Thursday, demanding the release of the country’s 31 tons of gold deposited there.
Almost a hundred protesters gathered outside the central bank headquarters, which was holding its monetary policy meeting at the time, for the event organised by left-wing group “Venezuela Solidarity Campaign”.
“Bank of England, you’ve been told, give Venezuela back its gold!” they chanted, as one protester wearing a mask of US President Donald Trump stroked two fake gold bars under a large Venezuelan flag.
“Maduro’s government is legitimate, it was elected, it’s been recognised by most countries of the world,” charity worker Robert Miller, 50, told AFP.
“Why doesn’t the Bank of England take the money from Saudi Arabia or somewhere else,” he added, in reference to the human rights justification for not releasing the gold.
“You can’t have the Bank of England declaring what is oppression.”
“The gold belongs to the Venezuelan people,” said fellow protestor Dominic Hale, a 32-year-old social worker, while his friend Danielle Veal, 30, denounced the pressure exerted by the US, saying it was “about the oil, they are not hiding it.”
Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro has been trying for several months to repatriate international gold reserves deposited in London.
The Latin American country currently has about 31 tons of gold worth $1.3 billion in the Bank of England, according to a report published by Natixis.
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, recognised as interim president by around 40 countries, wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May in January asking that Britain not return the gold to the Maduro regime.
The bank, which operates independently of the government, told AFP it would not confirm whether it had taken a decision on the issue.
“Before going ahead with any transaction, the bank needs to be satisfied that the counterparty has the authorisations necessary to request the transaction, that all relevant sanctions are complied with and that there is no evidence that the transaction will involve relevant criminal activity,” it said.
(From London Communist Blog)
(Tariq Ali denounces US coup attempt)
London, UK Meeting to Defend Venezuela from US Imperialism
Friday, February 08, 2019
Stand by Maduro!
by New Worker correspondent
Over 200 people joined a rally at the National Education Union head office near Kings Cross in London last Thursday to build solidarity with the Bolivarian government of Venezuela against the latest assault by US imperialism and its allies.
Tony Burke, chair of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign and Assistant General Secretary of Unite, conveyed greetings from Len McCluskey, and from unions in the US and Mexico. He said Washington was planning to declare a sponsor of terrorism, and demanded “let there be no more Pinochets in Latin America”.
Christine Blower of the National Education Union quoted the new Brazilian preisdent Jair Bolsonaro as saying that “Pinochet didn’t kill enough people”.
Kate Hudson for CND pointed out that the US has 76 bases in Latin America and the Caribbean, and that in May last year Colombia became NATO’s first Latin American global partner, as NATO evolves into a global rather than trans-Atlantic military bloc.
Colin Burgon of Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America said that Venezuela was under attack “because it is a cornerstone of progressive Latin America”.
He pointed out that shortly after tragic the death of Hugo Chavez, oil prices had dropped from $100 to $30 a barrel, hitting the Venezuelan economy.
Burgon quoted John Bolton, Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser telling Fox News last week: “We are in conversations with major oil companies to produce Venezuelan, oil which is good for Venezuela and good for the US”.
Many other speakers, including the writer and film-maker Tariq Ali, also spoke at a time when major solidarity actions are being mobilised in Britain.
Anger was also expressed at the Bank of England joining the seizure of Venezuelan assets in Britain at Washington’s behest, in response to which a protest at the bank has been organised.