BAMAKO, 4 March 2021 – Venezuela’s cash-strapped govnerment turned to Mali last year to secure foreign currency, an investigation by Reuters news agency has revealed.
Venezuela reportedly sent gold to Mali in Russian-owned planes, according to Julio Borges, a prominent Venezuelan opposition politician.
Borges who lives in exile in neighboring Colombia told Reuters that the gold refined in Mali was then resold in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The transaction allowed the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to stay afloat and bypass sanctions imposed by the United States.
Reuters said Thursday that neither the government of Mali nor the government of Venezuela had commented on the story.
Venezuela has also sold off some of its gold reserves to its allies in Turkey, Russia and the UAE.
After the May 2018 presidential elections, Maduro claimed victory and was inaugurated to serve a second six-year term, but opposition leader, Juan Guaido, declared himself interim president.
Guaido won recognition as the legitimate leader of Venezuela from more than 50 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, the European Parliament and most Latin American nations.
Maduro has maintained firm control of the nation’s security forces and continues to enjoy the support of Security Council veto-wielding powers, Russia and China.