Once-wealthy Venezuela is in dire circumstances. Years of corrupt socialist leadership has sent the nation spiraling into economic and social collapse. Crime is high. Food is outrageously expensive. Jobs are gone. Power and water utilities are inconsistent. The coronavirus is present, but healthcare is costly. Medicines, supplies, and protective equipment are hard to find.
The nation produces little other than oil. That once provided for a robust economy. Today, sanctions from nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom, which disapprove of mishandling by Venezuela’s oppressive leaders, restrict trade. Venezuela is broke.
What might that nation do with, say, a billion dollars in gold? Would that infuse the economy and return jobs, affordable food, and reliable healthcare to Venezuelans?
Nicolás Maduro claims it would. That’s why the controversial socialist, who calls himself Venezuela’s president, says he wants the Bank of England to release $1 billion worth of gold bars to him. But the bank says, “No way.”
The gold is currently stored in London. If that seems unusual, it’s not. There are two main keepers of the world’s gold: The New York Federal Reserve has the most. The Bank of England is a close second. The highly protected London vault holds 400,000 gold bars. In its 320 years of existence, it has never experienced a theft. Many nations of the world store their gold with one of those two establishments.
So why can’t Maduro get the goods? That’s because many countries don’t recognize Maduro as a legitimate ruler with authority to make decisions for the country any longer. A high court in the U.K. heard the case of the Venezuelan gold. It sided with the Bank of London in its decision that Nicolás Maduro was not the president of Venezuela. The court officially recognized Maduro’s political opponent, Juan Guaidó, as the valid interim president.
Guaidó is the leader of Venezuela’s National Assembly. That body has the constitutional right to step in when a president is breaking the country’s laws. Back in 2018, the National Assembly declared Venezuela’s most recent election “corrupted.” It said that Maduro was not legally reelected and that the president’s seat was vacant. Guaidó was named interim president pending a new, legal election.
More than 50 nations of the world recognize Guaidó, not Maduro, as Venezuela’s leader. But Maduro isn’t willing to accept that decision—from the world or from his own fellow citizens. And with a billion dollars just out of his reach, it’s unlikely he’ll step away easily any time soon.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. — 1 Timothy 6:10