As part of the Chavez administration’s drive for greater financial security and economic sovereignty, 14 tons of Venezuela’s gold reserves once held outside the nation were brought back home last Monday, concluding the government’s plan to repatriate 160 tons of the precious metal from foreign banks.
The shipment arrived at the Simon Bolivar International Airport in Maiquetia in the afternoon and was subsequently escorted by more than 300 soldiers to the vaults of the nation’s Central Bank in downtown Caracas.
“Nearly 14 tons of monetary gold is in this repatriated lot. There are 28 containers of 500 kilos each with a value of close to $70 million”, said the President of Venezuela’s Central Bank (BCV), Nelson Merentes. With a worth of some $9 billion, the 160 tons now brought back to Venezuela represent part of the 360 total tons of gold held by the government with a value of $18 billion.
Although he did not offer details, Merentes reported that while the South American nation’s Central Bank has “totally secure vaults”, a portion of Venezuela’s gold reserves will continue to be held abroad “in order to be able to carry out certain operations”.
“We’re leaving sufficient quantities outside the country and we’re bringing back the monetary gold that doesn’t need to be there”, he revealed.
Strengthening Economic Independence
According to President of the BCV, the now repatriated gold bars were illegally taken out of the South American nation between 1989 and 1992 as “a guarantee of payment in order to have access to different international institutions” such as the International Monetary Fund.
Then president Carlos Andres Perez shipped Venezuela’s gold reserves to foreign centers in Europe and the United States clandestinely in a move that for many in the current government epitomized the era of neoliberalism in the country.
In the wake of the recent financial crisis afflicting the United States and Europe, however, that policy was reversed by President Hugo Chavez who took the decision to insulate the country from economic tumult by recovering its deposits from foreign banks.
On November 25, 2011, the first shipment of gold arrived to Venezuelan shores and was met with enthusiastic crowds who celebrated the nation’s move towards economic sovereignty during the year of the country’s independence bicentennial. That same emotion was present with the arrival of the final lot on Monday.
“This gold has an owner who is the Venezuelan people”, affirmed BCV Director Jose Kahn during an interview with state television.
For Kahn, the move marks an important part of the Chavez administration’s consolidation of a new economic vision for the country that includes working with Latin American partners and freeing itself from the mandates of the world’s traditional financial centers.
“The people of UNASUR [Union of South American Nations] should repatriate our monetary reserves and create a strong group which will allow us to utilize these international reserves for our own economic growth and social development”, he declared.
Source: Correo del Orinoco