Worried apparently that creditors will figure out ways to put claims on his foreign assets, and that Hermione Clinton and Barry “Don’t Call Me Hussein” Potter might persuade the UN Security Council to tell the Ministry of Magic to sanction his hoard one of these days, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez is moving the gold out of Gringotts, and he’s bringing it all back home to be safely stored at Malfoy Manor in Caracas. From now on, Venezuela’s physical gold and other investment assets will be placed where sanctions are punch lines and law courts fear to tread.It isn’t a stupid move, considering Chavez’ propensity to take assets that foreign companies believe to be theirs without paying agreed compensation. But it may be complicated; gold in Venezuela isn’t always as secure as it looks.Venezuela has vast deposits of gold in the south of the country, but the government has never been able to control them. Illegal miners, smugglers and various other figures more colorful than salubrious make Venezuela’s gold country an entertaining place to visit.That might give Chavez pause; there are surely some savvy thieves tunneling around Venezuela; putting a vast hoard of gold right in their front yard might just be too tempting for them to pass up.The real thieves in Venezuela, of course, don’t carry pickaxes or wear helmets; they wear military uniforms or neckties and carry briefcases to work. Unfortunately, the home Chavez has chosen for Venezuela’s gold hoard is much more convenient for powerful thieves than the old Gringott’s vault.But there probably wasn’t much choice. From President Chavez’ point of view, the inscription on Gringotts door was much too depressing.
Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn.
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.
Now when the Grand Commanding Exalted Pooh-Bah of the Ever-Shining Bolivarian Revolution needs to slip into the vault to grab a few coins, he’ll see nothing but friendly faces. And as long as he remembers to tip the staff and the security guards, things will be fine while the gold lasts.