Venezuelan golden retreat could lead to dire trouble

President Hugo Chavez wants all of Venezuela’s gold now held in European and American banks to be returned to Caracas. It would be the largest physical movement of gold in recent history.

­Chavez said he is trying to protect his country from the financial woes on both sides of the Atlantic.

The move is in line with the nationalization of Venezuela’s gold industry. But Chavez has a broader plan to repatriate his country's gold bars and shift most of its cash reserves out of Western nations to political allies including China, Russia and Brazil.

Author and researcher Adrian Salbuchi believes there is a double reading on this.

“First of all, there is a financial one, and then you see a political one,” Salbuchi told RT. “The financial one is really quite simple, seeing the way the markets are going, seeing the way the European Union’s and the United States’ economies are going.”

“Venezuela is the 13th largest holder of gold in the world,” he added. “From a financial aspect, I think it is a very shrewd and intelligent move to protect his country’s gold assets. There is, however, a political overtone in that he wants to pull out the other financial assets that Venezuela has in the UK, in the US, and push it into what he calls ‘more likable allies’ – Russia, China and Brazil.”

Salbuchi says he fears the Venezuelan president might have not measured the potential risk and consequences of such a move.

This is an outright attack on the US, UK and the European Union as major financial markets, as major areas of safety to keep your gold,” he said. “If this could start a run on keeping gold in the US, UK, European Union and Switzerland, this might have much more dire consequences than Mr. Chavez imagines.”

“This might be a triggering mechanism that might even justify a political move to start regime change throughout Latin America, which would no doubt start with Venezuela,” he warned. “Actions such as this could very well be the triggers for grave geopolitical actions.”