Venezuela has begun to repatriate the South American nation’s gold treasures held in Western banks in a move to protect the country against economic crises in the United States and Europe, a report says.
The shipment of gold arrived in Venezuela on Friday after President Hugo Chavez ordered the repossession of 85 percent of the country’s bullion reserves from overseas banks, Al Jazeera news network reported on Saturday.
The gold was unloaded from a plane and transported under heavy security to the Central Bank in the capital, Caracas.
President Chavez has described the move as an act of sovereignty that will protect Venezuela’s reserves from global economic turbulence.
“It’s coming to the place it never should have left. … The vaults of the central bank of Venezuela, not the bank of London or the bank of the United States. It’s our gold,” Chavez said on national television.
Nelson Merentes, Venezuela’s Central Bank president said the return of the gold to Venezuela was a “historic act.”
Merentes said the gold had come from the UK but did not say what portion was in the initial shipment.
The gold had been held abroad since the late 1980s to secure loans requested from the International Monetary Fund by prior governments, he said.
The move is considered as the start of a process that will eventually see up to 160 tons of gold, worth more than $11billion, brought home.
Most of Venezuela’s foreign gold reserves are held in London.
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