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LatinNews Regional Monitor: Andean Group - 20 March 2019

In brief: Venezuela

* The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has sanctioned CVG Compañía General de Minería de Venezuela, C.A. (CVG Minerven), Venezuela’s state-run ferrous metals mining company, and its president, Adrian Antonio Perdomo Mata. According to a US Treasury Department press release, the action targets “the illicit gold operations that have continued to prop up” the government led by Nicolás Maduro. It adds that “as the sole state gold processor in Venezuela, Minerven purchases gold from miners and melts it into bars. The military then transports the gold bars to air bases outside Caracas, for further transport to the Central Bank of Venezuela.” According to the press release, “since 2016, the Maduro regime purchased the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of gold from small, independent miners, paying the miners in Venezuelan bolivares, even as Venezuela is experiencing hyperinflation as a result of extreme economic mismanagement. This practice has allowed the illegitimate regime to convert its depreciating currency into gold and other foreign currencies, paying the miners in nearly worthless Bolivares, while allowing the Maduro regime a lifeline to cling to power”.