Is Venezuela Canada’s Modern Day El Dorado?

The search for gold in the mythical place of El Dorado in Latin America drew armies of Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century and caused many deaths of indigenous people. The gold remained elusive but Spain colonized most of the region and exploited other riches until the Latin American independence movements of the 19th century.

But the search for gold never really ended, be it black gold – crude oil – or real gold of which Venezuela has plenty. The United States has publicly declared that is interested in the black gold. In the meantime, Canada has remained more secretive about its aspirations in its ventures in Venezuela. The truth is that Canada has corporate interests in the mining sector, and gold in particular.

We ask, is Venezuela Canada’s modern day El Dorado?

The US and Canada seem to be the main drivers, at least in the Western Hemisphere, to push for a coup in Venezuela by any means possible. In fact, the US and Canada appear to have established a tactical division of tasks against Venezuela. The US is using heavy-duty pounding through military threats to undermine the popular will of Venezuelans, together with unilateral financial sanctions and blockade to cripple the Venezuelan economy and cause havoc. Canada’s task is mainly luring the political will of rightwing regional governments through the illegitimate regime change intentions of the “Lima Group”.

Canada’s foreign policy alignment with the US State Department became clear when an Association between Ottawa and Washington was formed on September 5, 2017. The Association called on its two members to take “economic measures” against Venezuela and persons close to the Venezuelan government. To implement this decision, on September 22, 2017, Canada imposed its own unilateral sanctions against Venezuela, Venezuelan officials and other individuals under the so-called Special Economic Measures Act. [1]

International criminal lawyer Christopher Black has made the case that all actions by these two dubious partners, and some other governments, are illegal and break several international laws, charters and resolutions at the United Nations and the Organization of American States. [2]

If there is any doubt about the partnership, notice the language used by Canadian foreign affairs, Chrystia Freeland, in a recent statement to the press,

“…the crisis in Venezuela is unfolding in Canada’s global backyard. This is our neighbourhood. We have a direct interest in what happens in our hemisphere.

When you thought that the US was first in the use of colonial language and imperial dominance in the region, Canada shows to be a very close second, using unoriginal, US-scripted language. Black shows contempt for Freeland’s statement as we do.

Since 2017 the aggression against Venezuela has escalated to a classic Hybrid War on a sovereign country to produce a regime change. The latest illegal act of interventionist aggression has been the recognition of a spurious interim president, which amounts to a coup d’état.

Like in any war the victors will divide the spoils if the coup succeeds. It is a shame to see Canada do the dirty job for the US, but Canada’s motivation for this act of piracy is considerable. Put in one sentence, the US gets Venezuela’s oil and Canada gets Venezuela’s minerals, especially the rich gold mines. Here again, Canada reveals to be in tune with the US and in full character as a modern day conquistador.

In a recent article for “The Planned Plunder Behind Canada’s Support of the Coup”, [3] Canadian author Yves Engler spells out in details Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland’s “direct interest” in “Canada’s global backyard”.

At least five major Canadian corporations (Crystallex, Vanessa Ventures, Gold Reserve Inc., Rusoro Mining and Barrick Gold) have been pushing for control over gold extraction in Venezuela since Hugo Chavez was president. But it is well known that Chavez believed that all resources are the property of the Venezuelan people and he acted on that belief by protecting them against any foreign take over.

Failing the conquest of the gold mines, Canadian corporations, protected by the Canadian government, turned their claims into legal actions. Engler reported,

In 2016 Rusoro Mining won a $1 billion claim under the Canada-Venezuela investment treaty. That same year Crystallex was awarded $1.2 billion under the Canada-Venezuela investment treaty. Both companies continue to pursue payments and have pursued the money from Citgo, the Venezuelan government owned gasoline retailer in the US.” [3]

Not coincidentally, Citgo’s assets have been seized by the latest US sanctions that prevent profits to be repatriated by Venezuela. Washington’s “gift” to Ottawa.

Human rights expert and former UN independent rapporteur to Venezuela, Alfred de Zaya, refers to the aggression against Venezuela as a “looting campaign” and a “savage economic war.” [4]

Engler also gives us an understanding of the close relationship between Canada and Peru that may explain the choice of birthplace of the infamous “Lima Group”.  Since the 1990s Canadian corporations control the majority of Peru’s mining sector.

It is important to realize that, as oil is a strategic commodity for the industrial-military complex needed by the US to impose the New World Order, gold is still the crucial strategic commodity needed to maintain the world financial control. Economic sanctions can only be effective in creating economic havoc in countries that do not submit to its will as long as the US retains world financial control with its US dollar domination supported by the largest gold reserves it holds.

Despite the creation of alterative crypto currencies, gold still remains a valuable asset and several governments seek to achieve a level on immunity from the wrath of US sanctions by focusing on increasing their gold reserves. This has created what has been labeled a “global gold rush.” China and Russia have joined in but they actually purchase gold rather than acquiring it by hegemonic means.

The trade war with the US has pushed China to reduce its dependency on the US dollar. [5] Russia on the other hand has been particularly hit by US sanctions and is also aiming to increase its gold reserves. [6] Russia and China are in fifth and sixth place in gold reserves behind US, Germany, France, and Italy.

Interestingly, Canada is one of the largest suppliers of gold and it has regularly been selling off its reserves virtually to depletion. [7] The thinking seems to be, who needs to have gold reserves when your economy is tightly linked (actually dependent) to a neighbour that has plenty of gold? But many have questioned the wisdom of that economic behaviour.

However, two things are certain; capitalist speculation in gold and sales of gold are financial returns that are fueling the Canadian economy, and more crucially, in order for Canada to continue to be a large supplier of gold, it must obtain it from modern day El Dorado, Venezuela. That requires Canada to act as the new imperial conquistador but it must be careful that the price of that gold may well be in spilled blood as it was for Spain.



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Nino Pagliccia is an activist and freelance writer based in Vancouver. He is a retired researcher from the University of British Columbia, Canada. He is a Venezuelan-Canadian who follows and writes about international relations with a focus on the Americas. He is the editor of the book “Cuba Solidarity in Canada – Five Decades of People-to-People Foreign Relations” (2014). He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.









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Articles by: Nino Pagliccia

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