I have the honour to address you in follow-up to my letter of 26 May 2020 (S/2020/444), on our denunciation of the greatest robbery in the modern history of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which, to date, continues to be perpetrated, with total impunity, by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in the midst of the worst pandemic that humanity has faced in the past 100 years.

In this context, allow me to refer to the letter dated 29 May 2020 from the representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the United Nations (S/2020/464) on the subject at hand and prove below the falsehood of the allegations contained therein.

Firstly, on 13 May 2020, British media revealed the, until then, clandestine and secretive existence of a “Venezuela Reconstruction Unit” within the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The news, based on documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, also exposed “private discussions between Venezuelan opposition figures and United Kingdom officials, detailing proposals for the promotion of British business after a planned coup”.

This is a clear and factual demonstration, rather than a claim, not only of the fact that the British Government was aware of the armed incursion of mercenaries and terrorists against our national territory in early May 2020, within the framework of the so-called “Operation Gideon”, but that it was actively engaged in it, in order to secure preferred status for British businesses in my country after the act of aggression against Venezuela was successfully carried out.

Secondly, there had never been a single public declaration from British officials either on the establishment or on the existence of a “Venezuela Reconstruction Unit” within the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, of which the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela only learned on 13 May 2020, following reports published in international media.

As a matter of fact, on 14 May 2020, the British Chargé d’affaires a.i. in Caracas was summoned to the headquarters of the Ministry of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and he was handed a protest note on this matter. Only then did the British official acknowledge the existence of such a unit, while attempting, unsuccessfully, to make excuses and justify the unjustifiable.

Needless to say, this is yet another example of the hostile attitude towards Venezuela of the British Government, which insists on pursuing “regime change” policies against the legitimate, constitutional and democratically elected Government of President Nicolás Maduro, in violation of the very tenets of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international law, including the principles of non interference in the internal affairs of States, of sovereign equality of States and of the inalienable right of peoples to self-determination.

In this regard, it is worth noting that, in late January 2020, the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela received a request to issue official visas to British officials who intended to visit the country in February 2020, for the purpose of holding “meetings with [the] British Embassy”, as indicated in their visa applications. Their visas were promptly approved and issued. However, these British officials were only taking advantage of the good faith of the Venezuelan authorities, as, in contrast to the declared purpose of their travel, their real intention was to secretly advance the aims and goals of the then clandestine “reconstruction unit”, as was even recognized by the United Kingdom representative in his letter of 29 May 2020.

Thirdly, as we have previously denounced, coupled with threats of the use of force, there are ongoing attempts to illegally impose a naval blockade against our nation, which, should it materialize, would constitute an act of war under international law, particularly if not authorized by the Security Council, on the basis of Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations, or applied pursuant to the inherent right of self defence.

In this context, it is worth recalling the launching of an “enhanced counter-narcotics operation” in the Caribbean, as announced on 22 April by President Donald Trump, in cooperation with 22 partner nations, including the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Hence, the presence of foreign warships off our territorial waters, including British ones, in a hostile and confrontational attitude, is part of those efforts aimed at illegally establishing a naval blockade against Venezuela and at attacking our country, despite attempts to conveniently disguise it as either a counter-narcotics operation or as one to provide “resilience in preparation for the annual hurricane season”.

Lastly, we must reiterate that the Bank of England, in practice, is not an independent public organization but, instead, the executing arm of the colonial policy of looting and pillage of the British Government, which has robbed Venezuela’s gold reserves deposited at that financial institution, amounting to over $1 billion at current value, in violation of both the sanctity of contracts and customary international law on the immunity from execution for the international reserves and assets of foreign central banks. Also, at this point, it is worth referring to the $30 million (2020–2022) and $24 million (2019) that the British Government allegedly pledged and/or provided to “support Venezuelans in need”; an amount that, altogether, represents only crumbs (5.4 per cent), in comparison with the global figure of the resources it has recently robbed from our nation and which were deposited in the Bank of England.

As indicated in written communications from the Bank of England itself, dated 11 July 2018 and 18 March 2019, its unilateral and illegal decision to refuse to comply with the instructions provided by the account holder and owner of the gold reserves in reference – the Central Bank of Venezuela – related to the liquidation of part of those resources, is based on the following:

(a) Its compliance with United States-imposed unilateral coercive measures;

(b) Its consultations with the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office;

(c) The United Kingdom’s decision to disown the Government of President Nicolás Maduro.

Therefore, the Venezuelan case has proven that the Bank of England is neither a neutral nor a transparent institution, much less a trustworthy one, which is why its credibility is now completely destroyed. Thus, we reiterate our advice to other nations to consider promptly withdrawing their sovereign resources deposited at and their international reserves under the custody of that bank, as they are at permanent risk of being looted.

Consequently, the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is indeed deliberately depriving 30 million Venezuelans of basic goods and services, as it continues to undermine the efforts of our national Government to ensure the well-being of our people, including through the provision of food, medicines and other essential supplies, particularly in the midst of the worst pandemic that humanity has faced in the past 100 years; thus, diminishing the prospects of successfully defeating the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at home. The British authorities, we insist, are perpetrating an act of extermination against our people, which amounts to a crime against humanity, as per the provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, as it is intentionally inflicting “conditions of life, inter alia the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population”.

Finally, I respectfully request your good offices, in your capacity as President of the Security Council for the month of June 2020, to circulate the present letter among the members of the Council for their due information, and that it be issued as a document of the Council.