Citigroup to sell Venezuelan gold after Caracas misses buyback deadline due to US asset grab

Citigroup is reportedly preparing to sell gold bullion – which the Venezuelan Central Bank swapped for cash back in 2015 to keep the economy afloat and has now missed the deadline to buy back – and it wants to keep the change.

The American multinational investment bank has decided to sell off tons of Venezuelan gold reserves after the country’s Central Bank (VCB) missed the March 11 instalment to purchase back the collateral deposited to the British unit of Citibank over three years ago, in exchange for a $1.6 billion loan, multiple sources told Reuters and Bloomberg.

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The sale could fetch more than $1.35 billion under current market conditions, which is way more than the $1.1 tranche payment Citi was waiting to receive from Maduro’s government. Instead of returning the excess to Caracas, over $250 million in spare change will be deposited into a bank account in New York, where the US has already placed a giant claw over seized Venezuelan funds.

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Venezuela declared a force majeure, arguing that US sanctions and assets seizures prevented the country from paying back the loan on time, but the bank reportedly refused to extend the grace period. Citigroup and VCB have yet to issue a comment on the reports.

Earlier this month, self-proclaimed ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido reportedly approached Citibank urging them to block any attempts by Caracas to repurchase gold in order to ‘safeguard’ Venezuelan peoples’ riches until the opposition can get a hold of them. The US-backed politician also reportedly urged the Bank of England, which holds around $1.2 billion-worth of Venezuelan gold, not to transfer the reserves back to the Maduro government.

Also on US hits Venezuela with new sanctions on state-run mining company

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Truth or visa?: The New York Times lies against Cuba and Venezuela

After The New York Times confirmed that the humanitarian aid truck had been burnt by guarimberos (opposition demonstrators), someone warned me about the unusual favor that the imperial press was doing to the Bolivarian Revolution: "With the alleged truth already known and published, they are seeking credibility on the Venezuela issue. It’s the old strategy of the stick and the carrot. Prepare yourself for the lie disguised as truth they are going to release later".

Barely two weeks had passed for the warning to become true. Last Sunday, The New York Times just published a report in which it accuses the Government of Venezuela of, along with the complicity of the Cuban doctors working in that country, using food and medicines to pressure the citizens before the 2018 presidential elections, warning them that they would be cut off from subsidies and treatments if they did not vote for Nicolás Maduro.

Quoted by EFE agency, that paradigm of “serious press” known as The New York Times bases its assertions on the testimony of 16 deserters of Cuba’s medical missions to Venezuela, “who described a system of deliberate political manipulation, such as not using basic medicines on patients aimed at reserving them for the electoral period, when votes in favor of Maduro were demanded in exchange for treatments”.

You do not need to be very intelligent to find the backdrop of this new revelation of the US daily. Firstly, to question the legitimate nature of the May 2018 elections: “The accounts of manipulation and fraud remark the many challenges to Maduro’s legitimacy as president".

And secondly, to cast serious doubts on Cuba’s solidarity medical aid to that country, since The New York Times replicated the message of the Cuban interference that the hawks in charge of the campaign of lies against Cuba and Venezuela have continuously been repeating these days: "But the use of Cuban doctors to exert political control is not widely known, according to the doctors. The practice unfavorably shows a sweeping exchange that allegedly benefits all Venezuelans, regardless of their political preferences”, The NYT says.

It’s no surprise, then, that immediately after the report was published, US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, posted a commentary on the said article on Twitter, in which he claimed:

"It is not surprising that Maduro and his Cuban bosses have lied and killed to usurp democracy and steal the wealth of the Venezuelan people”, Bolton said. "This is a clear example of how Maduro ignores people’s needs and makes the situation worse for his personal gain”, he added.

Coincidentally, the new lie of The New York Times is published several weeks after Cuba rejected the legislation introduced by senators Robert Menéndez and Marco Rubio, who own a broad record of anti-Cuban campaigns and actions to reactivate the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program. The initiative, presented at Capitol, seeks to reactivate the US brain-drain against physicians of the island.

It wouldn’t be strange at all that the sources used by The New York Times form part of the "reactivation" of a program designed to encourage the Cuban doctors, who collaborate in third countries, to desert from their missions. But, the editors of the “prestigious” newspaper, apparently, ignore that their testimonies have no validity, if we take into account that their probable admission in the United States is conditioned by their good services to the campaign of lies against Cuba.

It’s the migratory policy of truth or visa. As The York Times report points out, one of the witnesses is "one of the few doctors interviewed who have returned to their profession with a small practice in Ecuador".

As we already said in a previous commentary, the editorial policy of The New York Times has never been oblivious to the fake news campaign launched in U.S. against Venezuela.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

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Venezuelan People Alert Against New Terrorists Attacks of the U.S.

Venezuelans went on the streets last Saturday 16th in Caracas, with a parade to support their President Nicolás Maduro and celebrate the great popular victory that meant the endurance of the Venezuelan people against the electric sabotage, reported TeleSur.

The mobilization lead by the president of the Constituent National Assembly (CNA) of Venezuela, Diosdado Cabello, in rejection to the cyber attack against the Hydroelectric Power Station Simón Bolívar, also known as the Guri Dam, which took place last Thursday March 7th with the objective of blaming Maduro’s Government.

Although it’s true that the sabotage to the electric system was planned in Washington we cannot forget that it was carried out with the help of a Venezuelan opposition that regrettably responds to the interests of this foreign power that seeks to drown the people into despair and raise chaos.

Cabello warned looking at this reality: "By order of the president we will preserve all strategic domestic facilities. We must be alert, the Venezuelan right-wing and the imperialism have no other way than violence". Furthermore, he warned of the possibility of new terrorist attacks against the operability of domestic public services.

The True Situation in Venezuela

The situation in Venezuela is that most of the Venezuelan people support Maduro while the Washington’s puppet doesn't rally almost anyone. His attempt to occupy the presidential chair dwindles with every passing minute. An example is that international media considerably diminished his recognition granted to the supposed authority of calling him "acting president" of Venezuela, they now call him "self-proclaimed president", "leader of the Venezuelan opposition", "opponent" or simply "Guaidó."

Following an analysis, the Venezuelan News Agency (VNA) realized that this change has occurred mainly in the last weeks especially in media like The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Bloomberg and CNN that had used the term "acting president."

The change was maybe caused by phone prank to Guaidó that has gone viral: Russian jokers Vovan and Lexus talked with the self-proclaim president as if they were the Switzerland president, Ueli Maurer. Guaidó fell for it and revealed the plans against the leader of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.

The call was made last February 20th and lasted over 12 minutes, in which the pranksters informed Guaidó that President Maduro has "large accounts" in the banks of that country, therefore they awaited his instructions on what they should do with them, said TeleSur.

“We need to find a way to freeze those accounts, president, and you will tell me through official channels how to proceed", commented the self-proclaimed president, very sure of with whom he spoke.

In order to proceed with the "blocking" of those accounts, Vovan and Lexus told Guaidó they would send a draft of a formal request, in the request appeared a fictional bank named "Lexus Vovanial Bank Ltd", their nicknames.

Two days after the “official talk”, Swiss authorities denied to have discussed on the Venezuelan assets with the self-proclaimed president, since he assured to the foreign media that he had spoken of a possible blocking of accounts with the president of that country.

“There was no contact between Mr. Guaidó and President Maurer”, asserted the spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Switzerland, Pierre-Alain Eltsching.

The answer of Elliot Abrams, North American official didn't take long and he guaranteed to the “Swiss President” that things would carry on from that day forward in strict secret, and he will personally speak with Guaidó to repeat "that his comment was an error that should not happen again.”

Pranksters not only spoke with the self-proclaimed president, they also spoke with Abrams, impersonating the Swiss leader.

The "executive" expressed his Government's will to cooperate in financial matters with the U.S., particularly on the topic of Venezuela. Abrams’s answer was to confirm that his objective is to "preserve assets" of the South American country and that they work with several European Governments to achieve so.

"I believe that everything should be frozen. Absolutely frozen, just to make sure that it remains where it is. That is our perception", said Abrams.

Mistake after Mistake.

Meanwhile this Saturday an extraordinary mobilization of the people from Caracas demonstrated to the world, once again, the dignity and patriotic conscience of Venezuelans while members of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces together with the people, preserves 24 hours a day the strategic facilities of electricity, petroleum, water, and telecommunications.

The People of Maduro is alert for the next terrorist attack from Trump’s government or for their next mistake. We will see.

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China Is Concerned and Ready to Support Venezuela after Blackout

China on Wednesday expressed concerned about the blackout that has affected Venezuela over the past few days, and assured that it is ready to supply technical assistance for the recovery of the South American country''s power grid.

At a press conference, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang expressed confidence in the government of Constitutional President Nicolas Maduro to discover the causes of the incident so that the entire power system resumes operations normally as soon as possible.

'China is willing to provide support and the necessary technical assistance to Venezuela to reestablish electricity completely,' Lu said when expressing the great concern generated by the event.

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Pompeo: U.S. To Withdraw All Personnel From Venezuela This Week

In a Monday night tweet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says his office will send home the last remaining diplomatic officials in Venezuela. 

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. “will withdraw all remaining personnel from the (Venezuelan) embassy this week,” effectively breaking diplomatic ties with the country on part of the U.S.

RELATED: Venezuela: Claims Of Hospital Deaths During Outage: 'False'

In a tweet late Monday night Pompeo wrote: “The U.S. will withdraw all remaining personnel from @usembassyve this week,” adding that “the presence of U.S. diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on U.S.”

Most U.S. embassy officials were removed in late January when opposition member Juan Guaido proclaimed himself Venezuela's interim president.

President Nicolas Maduro at that time said he was breaking diplomatic ties with the U.S. because the North American country had long been orchestrating an overthrow of his democratically elected government in order to install a "puppet government" headed by Guaido and elite interest groups in Venezuela and the U.S. 

The U.S. will withdraw all remaining personnel from this week. This decision reflects the deteriorating situation in as well as the conclusion that the presence of U.S. diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on U.S. policy.

Maduro said then: "They have the ambition for oil, gas and gold. We say to them: these riches are not yours. They belong to the people of Venezuela and that is how it will be forever," emphasized the country’s leader.

In Pompeo’s Monday night announcement the U.S. official said the decision “reflects the deteriorating situation in #Venezuela.” The "situation" Pompeo refers to is the nationwide electrical blackouts that hit the country last Thursday.

However, Maduro along with Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez continue to provide evidence that Pompeo and the U.S. authorities were the masterminds behind this very 'situation', pulling off a cyber attack on the state electric company’s computer system at the El Guri hydroelectric plant resulting in the near nationwide power outage.

Rodriguez pointed out that March 7, just minutes after the electrical attacks, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio tweeted about the energy outage, indicating he had prior knowledge the major blackout would take place.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted the next day: "There is no food, there are no medicines, now there is no energy," adding Maduro would be next to fall.

Despite the diplomatic strains Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza has continually tried to work with U.S. officials in order to resolve the U.S. aggressions toward his country, meeting with diplomatic authorities in Washington in late February, which U.S. official Elliot Abrams has denied.

"We'll continue to dialogue, even with the devil, to defend Venezuela's sovereignty," Arreaza told teleSUR reporters Feb. 23.

Electrical power has slowly been returning to Venezuela and as of Sunday was 70 percent restored.

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Venezuelan VP: Marco Rubio Behind Nation-Wide Blackout Sabotage

The Venezuelan vice president said President Maduro had ordered the suspension of working hours and shut schools Friday to facilitate the electric system repairs.

Venezuela's Vice President Delcy Rodriguez announced late Thursday that President Nicolas Maduro ordered schools and offices be shut on Friday in order to speed up the repairs of the Venezuelan electric system, which was attacked by far-right groups Thursday afternoon.

RELATED: Venezuelan Government Denounce New Attack On Electric System

"President Nicolas Maduro has suspended work and school activities on Friday so as to facilitate the necessary repair works on the country's electrical service, which was victim of an imperial war. United Venezuelans will win! The coup plotters will not pass," Rodriguez wrote on her Twitter account.

In a press conference, the Vice President denounced that Venezuela's blackout was caused by far-right groups encouraged by U.S. politicians. Among these, she referred to Marco Rubio, a Republican Senator from Florida hostile to the Venezuelan government, who posted a tweet just 3 minutes after the blackout began.

"We want to send a message to the international community: just three minutes after the attack, Marco Rubio, once again, as a crime reporter, reported on the event that was happening in our country," Rodriguez said and added "Mr. Rubio, I want to inform you that, in a few hours, the Venezuelan people and the international community will know the truth. We'll know that your rotten hands - supported by your lackeys who permanently attack the Venezuelan people - are involved in this event."

| Despite electricity blackout, people go about their day in .

Despite the sudden nationwide blackout, the Venezuelan Vice President indicated that the electric power is gradually returning in some sectors of Caracas.

She also affirmed that the intention of the sabotage was to attack the Venezuelan people and alter vital economic and social activities.

"The electric war announced and directed by U.S. imperialism against our people will be defeated," President Maduro posted on his Twitter account and added "nothing and no one will be able to defeat the people of Bolivar and Chavez. Maximum unity of the patriots!".

During her press conference, the vice president thanked the electric sector workers and the Venezuelan population for their willingness to quickly solve the attack-related problems.

"We want to recognize and appreciate the high civic awareness of the Venezuelan population... No one will divert us from the development path to consolidate Venezuela as a power," she said and commented that "the coup failed, the interventionist plan failed, the destabilization plans failed, and attacks on our public services will also fail because Venezuela definitively rejects those terrorist groups that threaten its dignity and integrity."

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Venezuela names German ambassador ‘persona non grata’ for ‘interference in its internal affairs’

The Venezuelan authorities have declared the German ambassador Daniel Kriener persona non grata over what it called “interference into its internal affairs."

Germany’s envoy has become the first European diplomat to be expelled from the Latin American state amid the ongoing escalation of tensions between Caracas and Washington and its allies, supporting a self-proclaimed ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido, who challenges the rule of elected leader Nicolas Maduro.

“Venezuela considers its unacceptable that a foreign diplomat … plays a public role on its territory, which is more typical for a political leader, who clearly supports the conspiracy agenda of the extremist parts of the Venezuelan opposition,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement explaining its decision.

Kriener was granted a period of 48 hours to leave the territory of Venezuela, the statement said.

El Gobierno de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela hace del conocimiento público la decisión de declarar persona non grata al Embajador de la República Federal de Alemania, Daniel Kriener, ante sus recurrentes actos de injerencia en los asuntos internos del país. Comunicado:

The ambassador’s actions “contradicted the essential norms … of diplomatic relations” and are considered “hostile and unfriendly,” the ministry said, adding that any interference into “matters of exclusive competence of Venezuelan people and authorities” would “not be tolerated.”

At the same time, Caracas said it is still ready to maintain a “respectful and cooperative relationship with all the governments of Europe” as long as they refrain from “encouraging a coup and violent actions,” as well as contribute to a “peaceful solution” of the Venezuelan political crisis and foster a dialogue between various Venezuelan political forces.

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In mid-February, Venezuela also kicked out a team of “interventionist” European parliamentarians, who came to meet with Guaido. Caracas accused them of coming with “conspiratorial purposes” and sent them back upon arrival.

Later the same month, Maduro also broke relations with neighboring Columbia and expelled its diplomats as well. The US envoy and his deputy were sent out of Venezuela back in May 2018 after being accused of allegedly conspiring against the government. The move came after Washington denounced Maduro’s victory in Venezuela’s presidential elections and refused to recognize its results.


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UNHCR Advance Team to Visit Venezuela on Invitation From Maduro

The United Nations Human Rights Commission will visit Venezuela to pave the way for a visit by the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

Following an invitation issued by the administration of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations (U.N.), Michelle Bachelet, announced Wednesday that an advance team from the U.N. will arrive Sunday, Mar. 10, to evaluate a visit by Bachelet herself.

RELATED: UN Agrees to Train Mexican National Guard on Human Rights

On Feb. 27, during a meeting with the senior union official and former president of Chile, Bachelet, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza reiterated an official invitation made by Nicolas Maduro to receive her in Venezuela, which the high commissioner addressed this Wednesday during the delivery of her annual report on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.

The U.N. group will be made up of five people who will travel through the cities of Caracas, Valencia, Barquisimeto and, possibly, Puerto Ordaz during a ten day stay. They will then prepare a report on the conditions present before the arrival of the High Commissioner.

Nos reunimos con la Alta Comisionada para los Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas . La actualizamos sobre la realidad en Venezuela y la invitación que el Presidente le ha hecho para visitar el país.


We met with the High Commisioner on Human Rights for the United Nations @mbachelet. We updated her on the reality in Venezuela and on an invitation by President @NicholasMaduro to visit the country. 

The advanced team would include two people from the U.N. headquarters in Geneva; two officers of the Regional Office for South America of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, one from the Santiago, Chile office; and one from the Panama office; in addition to a U.N. security officer; according to detailed sources from the organization.

Among the objectives of the visit is to verify whether the state of humanitarian crisis as reported by sectors of opposition is real or not, as well as addressing issues related to health, food, freedom of expression, social conflict, violation of labor rights and violations of human rights.

In order to understand the situation, they will meet with civil organizations and representatives of the government.

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