Venezuela Solidarity Campaign picket of Bank of England, 7 February 2019. Photo: Shabbir Lakha Venezuela Solidarity Campaign picket of Bank of England, 7 February 2019. Photo: Shabbir Lakha

Over a hundred protesters rallied outside the Bank of England to demand it returns Venezuela’s gold, reports Shabbir Lakha

Protesters gathered outside the Bank of England on Thursday afternoon to call on the Bank of England to return the $1.2bn of Venezuelan gold it’s holding. Over 150 people stood facing the Bank chanting “No war on Venezuela” and “Bank of England, you’ve been told, give back Venezuela’s gold”.

It seems ridiculous that while Venezuelan people are suffering from food shortages – a fact that our government and media keep repeating – this stockpile of gold that could go some way in alleviating the crisis is being withheld. Because of US sanctions, Venezuela has increasingly had to rely on gold barter with countries like Turkey to import food into the country.

The decision by the Bank of England to not return the gold is telling of the so-called humanitarian concerns motivating our government to back regime change in Venezuela. It’s already been revealed that US sanctions on Venezuela stripped the Maduro government of any potential ability to mitigate the economic crisis in the country that has seen hyperinflation of rates over 1 million percent, and that the latest round of sanctions will directly impact on ordinary people who are already suffering the most.

Chris Williamson MP joined protesters and spoke out clearly against Western military and economic intervention in Venezuela, against the anti-democratic move to recognise Guaido as interim President, and the withholding of Venezuelan gold by the Bank of England.

Chris Williamson addressing the crowd outside the Bank of England. Photo: Shabbir Lakha

Shabbir Lakha

Shabbir Lakha is a Stop the War officer, a People's Assembly activist and a member of Counterfire.