Gold industry to be privatised
President Hugo Chávez has said that he plans to privatise gold production and is in the process of moving international reserves out of western countries. The move follows a long running dispute with private gold producers, the largest of which is the Russian owned Rusoro Mining.
The president is currently undergoing chemotherapy for cancer and is being treated in Cuba. About $11 billion in reserves are currently held in US and European banks.
The move may be to minimise the potential effects of further sanctions against Venezuela. The US placed sanctions on the Venezuelan state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) in May for their involvement with Syria.
The other reason may be to shore up the economy; Venezuelan oil prices are falling and securing the gold reserves would minimise the effect of sanctions on the economy in the future.
There will be a presidential election sometime in late 2012 and the period leading up to the election is likely to be turbulent.