State-sponsored piracy has been a UK tradition since the British East India Company
The U.K. stripped the assets of a foreign state and transferred them to political actors engaged in regime change, John McEvoy reports. The result has been a form of collective punishment for people in Venezuela. By John McEvoy Declassified UK In late December, Venezuela’s leading opposition
In late December, Venezuela’s leading opposition parties voted to oust Juan Guaidó as “interim president” and dissolve his parallel government.
This was clearly not the ending the U.K. government had in mind.
Four years ago, the British government made the bold decision to recognise Guaidó as Venezuelan president and proceeded to facilitate his legal battle to seize roughly $2 billion of gold held in the Bank of England.
Indeed, the U.K. government insisted at every turn that it recognised Guaidó — and not Nicolás Maduro — as Venezuelan president. In turn, Guaidó’s lawyers argued that he was authorised to represent and control the assets of the Central Bank of Venezuela held in London.
Throughout this time, Guaidó paid his U.K. legal costs by drawing on millions of dollars of his country’s assets originally seized by the U.S. government. In other words, Guaidó tried to seize Venezuelan state assets with looted Venezuelan state assets.
Meanwhile, it seems certain that the Foreign Office also used a significant amount of public funds to sustain its backing of Guaidó.
Now that Guaidó has been ousted, the legal argument for transferring the gold to the Venezuelan opposition has effectively disintegrated. Despite this, the gold remains frozen in the Bank of England, with no clear resolution in sight.