The road to gold in Venezuela: how the regime of Nicolás Maduro loses metal to finance


The United States Security Counselor, John Bolton, was the first to warn the world about how Chavismo is involved in the leak of gold in Venezuela. "The Nicolás Maduro regime uses this sector as a bastion to finance illegal activities and support criminal groupsThe US has banned residents and their companies from any metal-related transaction from the Caribbean.

On 1 February this year, Bolton went further and wrote on his Twitter account: "Maduro not only needs support from foreign paramilitaries to keep the remaining thread of a failed dictatorship, but reports show that: takes Venezuelan badets in a complete plane. Do you steal resources from people to pay for Russian intervention?"Your message was accompanied by an article from the press agency Reuters, which indicated that the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) was planning to sell some 15 tons of gold from its reserves to the United Arab Emirates in exchange for euro cash to finance its imports.

A detailed report prepared by, divided into "five tracks", tells how the dictatorship of Maduro performs the flight, how it favors it, where it locates the gold and the profits it derives from these transactions thanks to the most sophisticated systems.

The scandal was discovered as a result of finding a load of ingots in Aruba. This charge exposed a route to get gold from Venezuela via the Dutch Caribbean islands to Europe and Dubai. It was nine months before US sanctions: in February 2018, they confiscated 46 50 kilos gold bullion at Reina Beatrix airport in Aruba, just when they were embarked by a Venezuelan Customs escort on a KLM flight to Amsterdam.

According to the report of, this cargo, valued at $ 2.1 million, He came from Maracaiboin the west of Venezuela; and his final destination was Dubai, UAE.

Contradictory, the merchandise arrived by air to the small nation in the middle of a blockade Venezuelan government ordered the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao to end the smuggling of gold, copper and food.

Blue Gold S.A. and its connection with Jorge Arreaza

The seller of gold bullion sent to Aruba has a name and a first name: Blue Gold S.A., one of the joint ventures created by the Maduro regime for mining resources of the Orinoco mining arch.

Two years after the launch of the mining Arc, according to the NGO Transparencia Venezuela, it is estimated that 30% of what is reported to the Central Bank of Venezuela as a national artisbad production it deviates to existing smuggling mafias.

The investigation of also paid data on Blue goldwhose board of directors is closely related to Jorge Arreaza, former son-in-law of Hugo Chávez and current Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, who appointed his members during the brief period occupied by the portfolio of Ecological Mining Development.

Arreaza, who was previously vice-president of Venezuela and the Ministries of Science and Technology, replaced six people from the first board of directors of the company place people who are faithful to him.

So, slogan Runrunes, the company He was full of faces that he knew very well because they worked at your orders in other offices. For example, placed on his right hand, Carlos José Guzmán Gómez, who has always been responsible for managing the portfolios he has held since 2011. He currently accompanies Arreaza to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He also named Víctor Hugo Cano, who has just replaced him as Minister of Ecological Mineral Development. The manager had been close to Arreaza while he was leading the science and technology. In addition, he placed Elena Evelyn Valera Sierralta, Nelson del Valle Hernandez Lezama, Raquel Dayanna Diaz Vivas and William José Cañas Delgado, all people in your environment.

Oro Azul was born with Decree 2 540 of 2016, under the law that reserves to the state all economic activities related to gold and strategic minerals.

It's one of the companies with authorization to explore and exploit gold and various minerals through the mining arch of the Orinoco. Its initial social capital was one million Bolivares ($ 1,470, calculated for the official rate of time) and their shares were divided between the State (55%) and the private lime company (45%).

In addition to Blue Gold, There are at least six companies that work in gold mining with the approval of the government.

Closing borders, arrests and guerrillas

After the closing of the borders with the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curazao and after the arrest of the Venezuelan who had won the 50 kilograms of gold at the airport of Aruba, followed by a chain of events that shows the complex structure which works for the extraction and marketing of gold.

The arrest in Curaçao of the Venezuelan journalist Archak Bedrossian Liberatoscioli, a gold trader with more than two decades of experience and surprise activation of the operation "Metal Hands"in Venezuela, destined to"attack the mafias of contraband metal mining"Far from demonstrating the Maduro regime's interest in stopping the leak of gold, these actions were aimed, according to experts, at replacing powerful groups hiding behind the gold trade.

A fact that stands out it is that It is not officially known how much gold is produced in Venezuela nor how much of that total is sold abroad or where it is exported. However, what has been proven is that Organized crime permeates the chain of extraction and marketing and gold comes from a territory besieged by violence.

The mines in the southern state of Bolívar are controlled by pranes (term that comes from the prisons and which designates the criminals responsible for them) and guerrillas who impose their law with blood, a fact that manifests itself in 40 mbadacres committed in the region since 2016 because of disputes between these groups that are related to senior military officer and even with political leaders of the region.

What happens inside the mines is ignored by the countries that are destinations or end beneficiaries of Venezuelan gold, such as Holland, Switzerland, Belgium and Turkey.

It all started a little over a year ago: February 9, 2018. That day, he was confiscated at Reina Beatrix Airport of Aruba. a black suitcase with 46 ingots, which weighed 50 kilos and never reached its destination. She was to be transferred to Amsterdam and her carrier, a Venezuelan Customs escort, was arrested. The charge was valued at $ 2.1 million.

It should be recalled that the fact arrived a month after Maduro ordered the closure of communications by air and sea with Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire for 72 hours, for a period of three months. What he remembers -and this is not a minor detail- is that the plane arrived in Aruba despite the siege that the president has decreed.

As mentioned above, the 46 bars seized were registered in the name of Blue gold, a joint venture created in November 2016.

The revealed identification Helen LeJuez, the lawyer from Aruba who initially badumed the legal defense of the company Armored Transport Paoro Aruba, responsible for transporting gold from Maracaibo, with a first stopover in Aruba, then another in Holland, to its final destination, Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. The owner of the company of transport of values, the Venezuelan-Dutch Juan Carlos Toro Rodríguez He was arrested for investigation and subsequently released in June 2018. Until November, the case on which the prosecution was investigating was still open.

In June 2018, LeJuez was disputed at a meeting with in Aruba that all the operation was legal. The attorney claimed that the 50 kilograms of gold had been transported to Aruba Customs in a commercial flight from Aruba Airlines for which all the required documents had been submitted, including the certificate of Aruba Airlines. Origin and the Venezuelan Seniat tax return. "In this case, there was no smuggling or money laundering", he badured on March 13, 2018.

Where does the gold come from?

"Why are the narrow roads of the town of El Callao, south of Bolivar, still clear, but not today?" Could one day ask someone suspicious, what he would answer: "It is that they make a transfer"The journalist will check the affirmation minutes later.

An armored vehicle drives in a street near the Workers' Club of Minerven. "Here they are. That's why it was the tail"A pair of black motorcycles, with hooded officers dressed in the same color, escort the vehicle with a" Tiuna "- a multi-tactical means of transport made in Venezuela – that exposes at least six soldiers from the army back There go the gold bullions that were produced in the month and that were kept in the vault of Minerven. Your next stop will be Guasipati Airport, an asphalt track. From there, to Maiquetía and the central bank of Venezuela.

According to the survey of, nobody knows how much is moved per month. However, it is well known that the gold mines of the Orinoco mining arc produce much more than what is sold there, because this precious metal has other ways of going out. It's an open secret recognized by the same government. So much so that the former governor of the entity, Francisco Rangel Gómez, insured in March 2016 that the previous year "20 tons of gold" had escaped "on the greenways". This leak did not stop.

The nationalization decree was signed on August 23, 2011 by Hugo Chávez, who presented the measure at a cabinet meeting retransmitted on television from the Miraflores Palace. "Gold, gold, gold", the former president wrote on the last page of the document, near his signature.

"In order to continue to strengthen national independence, economic independence and the strength of the national economy, I sign this decree that nationalizes gold, in three words," he told the cameras. This has made illegal artisbad mining illegal and forces miners to join joint ventures with state involvement..

Gold is stained with blood. Because Beyond, the state-Chavista- has absolute control over the metal, the truth is that in regions where gold is worked there is violence. The mining arch conceals mbadacres, violations of indigenous territories and the destruction of the environment. Do not forget that by the middle of 2018, blood has returned to Tumeremo and the mines that surround this city located in the south of the state of Bolívar. Only between August and October, the death of 47 people who fell in the middle of clashes was denounced between criminals, guerrillas and members of the Bolivarian National Guard and the army. Despite the fact that in 2016 and 2017, the government had badured that it would mitigate the violence in the locality through its "People's Liberation Operations" (PLO) it does not. never left.

In March 2016, Tumeremo is in the news following the mbadacre of 17 miners. Although murders have been common in the region for more than five years, this event has become a reference because the relatives of the victims have closed for several days the transit by the only road that communicates with the rest of the country and where we arrive in Brazil.

The reason for all the clashes is explained in the territorial struggles that exist in the mining area of ​​southern Venezuela.

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