On Sunday, January 9, anti-imperialists in the UK protested in front of the Bank of England in London to demand that authorities unconditionally release the Venezuelan gold reserves held in the bank’s vaults back to the country’s government. Various groups including the Revolutionary Communist Group – Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism (RCG-FRFI), Rock Around the Blockade, Julian Assange Defense Campaign, Bolivia Solidarity Campaign, Great Patriotic Pole UK, Papua Militant International, Economic and Philosophical Science Review, and Hands Off Venezuela!, among others, participated in the protest. The protesters reiterated their support to Venezuela’s sovereignty and the Bolivarian Revolution’s 20-year resistance to imperialist exploitation. They condemned British imperialism’s war against the Bolivarian Revolution and its support for US-sponsored schemes for ‘regime change’ in Venezuela.
The Central Bank of Venezuela is engaged in a legal battle to recover 31 tons of public gold in the Bank of England. As part of the US-backed maneuvers to destabilize the socialist government, the Bank of England denied the request to transfer back 1 billion dollars in gold reserves stored by the Central Bank of Venezuela, stating that the UK recognizes the Venezuelan opposition activist Juan Guaidó as the legitimate authority.
Venezuela has already suffered from lack of access to funds because of asset seizure or freezing by international banks due to the sanctions regime imposed on it by the US government. Even though the Central Bank of Venezuela won an appeal in the British Court of Appeal in October 2020 regarding the release of the gold, the UK Supreme Court decided on December 20 last year to maintain the blockade on the gold in the Bank of England. While political scheming by the US-led imperialist bloc against Venezuela using proxies like Guaidó has failed, the financial constraints put on the Bolivarian government have affected Venezuela’s fight against COVID-19.
In its statement, the RCG-RFRI said that “while the Nicolás Maduro’s government in Venezuela demands their legitimate gold which is to be used for imports of food, medicine and COVID-19 vaccines, the British government, Supreme Court and Bank of England see fit to decide who is and who is not the legitimate head of state, riding roughshod over the Venezuelan democratic process that re-elected Maduro in 2018.”
“Despite crippling sanctions, sustained destabilization and coup attempts, Venezuela continues to resist! 3.7 million units of social housing have been built and distributed through the Great Housing Mission – whereas in Britain, with an economy 18 times the size of Venezuela’s, 30,000 households are on council housing waiting lists and homelessness is soaring whilst social housing is sold off and demolished to make way for luxury flats,” it added.