Mutiny Breaks Out At Venezuela's Central Bank

While the world obsesses how much longer Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro can remain in power before he loses the support of the local military or the US deploys yet another "humanitarian mission" to depose him, forcing the embattled dictator to place several tons of the country's dwindling gold on a cargo plane to a non-extradition destination as he takes one final trip abroad, the ongoing "soft coup" is also playing out within the halls of the central bank, where in addition to a lot of currency printing in recent years, Bloomberg reports that staffers are waging a small mutiny and refusing to sign-off on key bank transactions.

The Central Bank of Venezuela stands in Caracas

According to "four people with direct knowledge of the matter", some central bank employees received "early retirement offers" Friday after disregarding orders from upper management. The mini mutiny took place as staffers fret about potential consequences and repercussions of signing off on financial operations that have been barred by US sanctions, and as discontent bubbles over as Venezuela’s economic and political outlook deteriorates.

As previously reported, attempts by Maduro to repatriate $1.2 billion of gold from the Bank of England and plans to ship 20 tons of the metal abroad for cash have been stymied in the past several weeks, bringing close international scrutiny to Banco Central de Venezuela’s $8.4 billion in reserves due to fears the Maduro regime may try to pillage them next, prompting a freeze on Venezuelan assets held in western banks.

Meanwhile, National Assembly President Juan Guaido - who in recent weeks was declared the legitimate leader of Venezuela by the US and many Western states, if not Russia and China - has called on the military and government workers to abandon Maduro in order to help form a transition government. While few have heeded the call domestically, some diplomats have broken ranks at embassies and consulates in the U.S. and beyond. And now it appears that Maduro may have to staff the central bank with personally vetted supporters as well.

The good news, so to speak, is that with hyperinflation in Venezuela the central bank doesn't really do much besides, well, print money (metaphorically that is - the actual money printing takes place offshore and the banknotes are shipped in using 747s). As a result, while central bank jobs were once highly sought after by educated Venezuelans with degrees in economics and statistics, rising political tensions and shrinking wages have reduced most teams to bare bones.

Ironically, protests among underpaid workers complaining about increased workloads have become increasingly common. Ironic, because as said above, the central bank no longer does all that much, and no longer publishes most economic data publicly after the executive branch clamped down on transparency amid Venezuela’s worst-ever economic downturn.