- CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -
Venezuela has moved its central bank foreign reserves out of U.S. banks,
liquidated its investments in U.S. Treasury securities and placed the funds
in Europe, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Friday.
- "We've had to move the international reserves from
U.S. banks because of the threats," from the U.S., Chavez said during
televised remarks from a South American summit in Brazil.
- "The reserves we had (invested) in U.S. Treasury
bonds, we've sold them and we moved them to Europe and other countries,"
- Chavez, a sharp critic of what he calls "imperialist"
U.S.-style capitalism, has often criticized foreign banks for the power
they wield in international financial markets at the expense of poorer
- Chavez again proposed the creation of a South American
central bank that would hold the foreign exchange reserves of all the central
banks in the region.
- "I'm ready right now with the Venezuelan central
bank ... to move $5 billion (euro4.15 billion) (of Venezuelan reserves),
to a South American bank," Chavez said.
- Central bank officials could not be immediately reached
for more details.
- Chavez has also argued against central bank autonomy,
saying excess foreign reserves should be spent on economic development
- Under his presidency, Venezuela's mostly pro-Chavez Congress
changed central bank laws earlier this year so the government could tap
reserves for spending, despite criticism that it would lead to devaluation
of the local currency and higher inflation.
- Every year the central bank must now compute an "optimum"
amount of reserves and hand over the rest to a newly created national development
- Money held in the fund will be used for overseas purchases
and to pay off outstanding debt.
- Foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank stood
at $30.434 billion (euro25.27 billion) as of Sept. 28, according to central
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