Robert HARNEİS-TDO- (FRANCE) - The Italian government, strongly supported by Greece, has refused to allow a joint statement by EU countries recognising US supported Juan Guaido as interim President of Venezuela.
The European Commission High Representative for Foreign Affairs Frederica Mogherini had prepared a text aiming to recognise Guaido as effectively interim President of Venezuela if the actual President Maduro did not call new Presidential elections within eight days. This was to be part of the carefully choreographed role out of the US lead coup d’état, aimed at placing a US puppet at head of the energy rich Caracas government. Guaido is a virtually unknown minor politician. In a recent opinion poll 80% of Venezuelans said that they had never heard of him.
The Italian Prime Minister commented that ’it was not opportune to rush to recognise investitures like that of Guaido, that have not been legitimized by an electoral process.’ Guaido was not a candidate in the Venezuelan presidential elections held last May, which were found to be free and fair by the Carter Foundation. The Venezuelan government have however agreed to call new parliamentary elections to regularise the position of the anti-Maduro Venezuelan National Assembly, which is currently superseded by the Constituent Assembly, that is controlled by a pro Maduro majority.
A number of EU governments, notably France, Germany, the UK, and Spain, have followed the Washington playbook and moved to recognise Guaido. The EU parliament has also adopted the same approach recognising Guaido ‘as the only legitimate interim president of the country until new free, transparent and credible presidential elections can be called in order to restore democracy.’
The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday that the government would reconsider diplomatic ties with 13 EU members over the matter, accusing them of signing up on a “coup” plot by Washington to topple President Nicolas Maduro.
The Venezuelan government “expresses its most energetic rejection of the decision adopted by some European governments, in which they officially submit to the US administration’s strategy to overthrow the legitimate government of President Nicolas Maduro,” the statement said.
Caracas “will fully review bilateral relations with these governments from now, until there is a rectification that renounces support for the plans for a coup,” it added.
The EU governments are evenly split on the issue.
In London the Bank of England has refused to release Venezuela’s gold to the Venezuelan government. Initially it was claimed that the transfer was held up because of insurance problems. Finally the Bank said that it would not release the gold or discuss the matter further with Venezuelan officials because of concerns about money laundering.
In reply to a query from the Diplomatic Observer as to whether the bank had ever treated any other country in this way previously, a spokes person replied that‘ In all its operations, the Bank observes the highest standards of risk management and abides by all relevant legislation, including applicable financial sanctions. Given the above, I’m afraid I cannot answer your question as to whether this has happened before. We do not comment on particulars relating to our customer banking services.’
The bank is, in theory, non political and independent but the current Governor Carney has already in volved himself in political controversy in an unprecedented way over Brexit. It would seem he has done so again at the behest of the government to please the United States. Bearing in mind the vulnerable position of the British government, currently in the throes of the final Brexit negotiations, this is not so surprising. However it could come at a high cost to the City of London. Countries around the world will note that, when push comes to shove, their money and particularly their gold, will not be safe in London if they fall foul of the United States.
The 1.3 billion dollars worth of gold is to some extent symbolic and the Venezuelans are not necessarily surprised at what has happened. In 2011 the previous President Hugo Chavez repatriated160 tonnes of gold from the United States and Europe.
Venezuela has made a concerted effort to become a major gold exporter, and is engaged in certifying some 32 gold fields, and building 54 processing plants in a bid to become what Maduro said would be "the second largest gold reserve on Earth, “assisted by Russia.
Venezuela has moved its gold smelting operations from Switzerland to Turkey after an agreement between President Maduro and President Erdogan.
Russia, China, Iran, India and Turkey have also opposed US plans for Venezuela. China has invested heavily in Venezuela with loan payments made in oil shipments.