By Deisy Buitrago

CARACAS (.) – The Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) has agreed with the United Nations Development Program to allocate part of the gold that is in the Bank of England to the direct purchase of medicines, food and medical equipment to face the pandemic of the COVID-19, said Wednesday the president of the issuing entity.

Venezuelan authorities will defend the mechanism discussed in March with the UNDP for 1 billion dollars before a court in London, whose hearing is scheduled for Thursday and in which they claim that the Bank of England refuses to follow instructions to sell part of the Gold that the BCV has in that institution, Calixto Ortega Sánchez said in an interview with . from the headquarters of the Central Bank.

Venezuela officially registers 1,245 cases of coronavirus and 11 deaths from the infection, one of the lowest death rates from the virus in the region, although non-governmental groups of local doctors and the Centers for Human Rights and Humanitarian Health of Johns Hopkins University They have expressed doubts about the scope of the evidence and the figures.

“We agreed with the United Nations Program that they receive the funds directly,” Ortega said, after showing a diplomatic passport that accredits him in those functions and a document with several entries to London since late 2018 to attend to Venezuelan gold issues.

“It is not my word, it is not that I am saying that I am going to buy food, medicine and medical equipment. It is the United Nations that is saying it and they are not going to lend themselves to anything obscure, that is not neutral, independent,” he added. .

The head of the Central Bank said he hopes to get in an expedited trial of a few weeks that the Bank of England delivers part of the gold that has been requested since 2019 to face the economic emergency under the pandemic.

“It is necessary that this be resolved as soon as possible for the benefit of the Venezuelan people. The Central Bank is not going to administer the funds ‘per se’, there is no Venezuelan state institution that is going to be involved in the procurement of those funds,” added the official.

For months, 31 tons of Venezuelan gold have been frozen in the Bank of England, after the British government and 50 other countries ignored the mandate of President Nicolás Maduro, after questioned elections in 2018, and chose to support the head of Parliament opposition, Juan Guaidó, as leader of the country.

The Bank of England declined to comment on the case, and UNDP did not respond to a request for more information.

The issuer’s president said that the Bank of England is failing to comply with the contract signed with Venezuela and “gambling on its prestige”, after stating that the request was made by Venezuela in the face of the collapse of oil prices and its oil production.

“That is the worst that a nation can live. It has no income, it has no capacity to make cash and the funds it has deposited abroad cannot be mobilized, in the midst of a pandemic,” he added.

(Report by Deisy Buitrago; Edited in Spanish by Javier López de Lérida)