John McEvoy

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John McEvoy is a British independent journalist who writes for @thecanaryuk, @declassifieduk, @tribunemagazine, @brasilwire and @jacobinmag.[1]

Venezuelan gold

In a series of tweets on 18 July 2021, John McEvoy tweeted:

Thread: Tomorrow the UK Supreme Court will begin proceedings relating to the US$2bn of Venezuelan gold held in the Bank of England. The UN independent expert on sanctions recently urged the UK to unfreeze the gold so Venezuela can buy food, medicine.[2]

2/ The Court will consider who the UK government formally recognises as the President of Venezuela, and therefore whether the Maduro or Guaidó board has the power to represent and control the assets of the Central Bank of Venezuela.

3/UK officials have claimed that this is a matter for the courts, not politics. But it’s clear this issue forms part of the US- and UK-led effort to overthrow the Venezuelan government by way of hybrid warfare, a crucial part of which entails destroying its economy.[3]

4/ According to former NSA chief John Bolton, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt “was delighted to cooperate on steps they could take, for example freezing Venezuelan gold deposits in the Bank of England, so the regime could not sell the gold to keep itself going”.[4]

5/ The FCO won’t release information regarding US pressure, claiming “would be likely to prejudice relations between the United Kingdom and other states [...] the release of information relating to this case could harm our relations with United States of America and Venezuela”.[5]

6/ The FCO has also redacted all information regarding Hunt's briefing notes and discussions with Pompeo and Bolton.[6]

7/ After Hunt insulted Trump on Syria (the UK government didn't want troops removed), he confided that UK Venezuela policy amounted to an imperialist trade-off: "we need to use Venezuela as an issue on which we can be as fully in line with the US as possible".[7]

8/ The Venezuelan gov has requested access to the gold so to respond to Covid-19. In December 2020, Guaidó’s lawyers openly rejected a proposal to use the gold “for the purposes of supplying COVID-19 vaccines to Venezuela”.,[8]

9/ The legal basis for Guaidó's original claim to represent the Central Bank of Venezuela - that he was the head of Venezuela's National Assembly - no longer exists. The UK nonetheless remains loyal to Guaidó, dragging out a legal process that is harming ordinary Venezuelans.[9]

10/ The UK's claim to recognise Guaidó as President of Venezuela runs contrary to past UK foreign policy. After a military coup in Egypt in 2013, a spokesperson for David Cameron said: “We recognise states not governments" - ie: de facto not de jure.[10]

11/ The difference being Sisi came to power by way of a brutal coup, and Egypt becoming extremely pliant to UK oil interests. Shortly after UK recognition, the Sisi regime murdered at least 817 people, to little distress in Whitehall.[11]

12/ Oil interests are central to UK policy in Venezuela. In former minister Alan Duncan's words: "The revival of the oil industry [in Venezuela] will be an essential element in any recovery, and I can imagine that British companies like Shell and BP, will want to be part of it."[12]

13/ The issue of the Venezuelan gold held in the Bank of England will have international implications:

Does the UK government still assume the right to international piracy, and will the UK courts provide it a veil of legitimacy?


View the proceedings

The proceedings can be viewed live here.[14]

Here's the UK Supreme Court timetable, UKSC ruling expected 22 July