Where are the China bashers?

Go ahead. Take it.
Go ahead. Take it.

Nicolás Maduro is wrapping up a trip to the piggy bank visit to China. The deal that he signed means that China gives us money so that we can buy trinkets from them and continue subsidizing the scam that is Cadivi. In exchange, they get our oil.

In the end, China keeps their money and our oil, we get trinkets, and the bolibourgoise gets rich engaging in arbitrage – buying at Cadivi rates, and then selling in the black market. This is what passes for “sowing the seeds of future prosperity” in today’s Venezuela.

As this scandalous deal unfolds, one thing keeps bugging me: why are’t we bashing China more?

We’ve seen opposition politicians harshly criticizing Maduro for this deal. Julio Borges, for example, basically said Maduro is ruining Venezuela. That’s all true, but why bother? Our beef is not with the puppet, but with the puppeteer.

The deals between China and Venezuela are one-sided and a virtual capitulation of our sovereignty, but that’s old news. We should go a step further and call things what they are. Any deal that violates our sovereignty, signed with an illegitimate government, under a cloud of darkness, and without proper oversight … is a deal we cannot, will not honor.

I don’t understand what Capriles & company are thinking on this issue. Ask yourself this: if the straw were to break the proverbial camel’s back and chavistas were to leave power, would President Capriles honor Maduro’s commitments to China? Will a MUD government begin shipping oil to China in exchange for money sitting in Diosdado Cabello’s bank accounts? Will the Capriles government partner with CNPC while Rafael Ramírez enjoys a cushy retirement?

Now that would be treasonous.

It seems, instead, that nobody in MUD-land wants to ruffle any feathers. We’ve all bought the line that China is too big to mess with, and that it’s not worth threatening them.

I think there’s an underlying principle at play here, and capitulating makes us look weak. It’s no wonder, then, that the opposition simply gets no respect overseas – not from China, not from the US, and certainly not from Latin American governments.

I’m not saying that we should all take this position. I’m sure many inside the MUD think the deal with China is an indictment on Maduro, and that the Chinese are simply taking advantage of a good opportunity. But it’s strange that nobody is bashing China. By keeping quiet, we are making it costless for them to play favorites in Venezuelan politics and, basically, continue funding a movement that is destroying our country so that they can sell a few more washers.

It would be nice if somebody were to man up and denounce China for what it is: an imperial aggressor fleecing Venezuelan citizens.

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    • OOh oooohhh!! Me! me! I’M a China basher!! China-basher should be my middle name. (Did I mention I’m all for China-bashing?)

      • Haven’t you read my Facebook feed at all? I’m all for China-bashing. I deeply mistrust their labour practices, their curtailed freedoms, their supposed development model, and so on…

        Having said that, two things:

        1. I know that HCR has expressed private concerns, at least since he became “presidenciable” regarding our relations with the Chinese. On the one hand, Capriles cannot stimulate the Chinese into action against any possible regime change in Venezuela. Overtures were made on the matter during the prior presidential campaigns, and it was very clear that, if and when the Venezuelan state would disavow any prior agreement or treaty, it would do so under the scope of international law. The Chinese agreed, reminding that they too would defend their rights on such matters.
        2. Anti-imperialism is politically invigorating and even astute, but, is it a correct assessment of the situation? China is using its leverage, and we are not forced into any agreement beyond what any legitimate international negotiation can muster; it is the dire state of our country which allows any foreign power to dictate draconian terms; if, given the chance, don’t you think the US would do the same? Victimisation and “Dependency Theory” are not our banners; an openness to commerce is.

        BTW, UNT’s Omar Barboza will have a press conference tomorrow afternoon on the China trip.

  1. While the Chavista’s blame the United States for economic imperialism and everything else, real Venezuelans should, as I think you implied, castigate China for buying Venezuela.

  2. Juan, I agree that these deals with China are bad for our country. Although, it seems to me all of your criticism are against boligarchs. When did China encourage CADIVI or Government corruption? If anything, I would actually be happy if they better supervised how the Vzlan government spends the money lent and give us some financial advice.

      • Actualy I disagree. China wants to 1)make money via interests 2) make sure Vzla spends a huge chunk of the loan buying Chinese products. It’s not in their best interest to make vzla go bankrupt. If so, we would default on our debt.

        This is why Juan’s assertion that China is being imperialist because the Boligarchs are stealing the money doesn’t hold any water.

  3. Juan,

    I feel your pain.

    There is some feeling of frustration towards the Chinese already, but the issue is a hot potato. I remember how two Venezuelans wrapping up suitcases in Maiquetía were watching a group of Chinese arriving. Theirs were the last words I heard before passing through immigration:
    ‘Y allí están llegando nuestros nuevos amos”.

    But we seriously suffer from the cargo cult and what you say will be interpreted as “yet another one who wants to have exclusive access to the resources of the Gods. why doesn’t he want us to get the presents the Gods are sending us?

    I am positive most of the washing machines and refrigerators taken now from Sabaneta Prison were Haier (c).

  4. Let us say that Capriles/MUD do make a statement such as: “Listen you Chinese: we will not honor any treaty made by Nicolas!”
    Scenario #1: the Chinese do not care: Capriles/MUD look stupid, irrelevant, and are accused of trying to sabotage the country. MUD/CAPRILES LOSE.
    Scenario #2: the Chinese pay attention and do not lend any money to Nicolas and disaster ensues with riots, etc. Capriles/MUD are blamed for the sabotage. MUD/CAPRILES LOSE.
    Is that difficult to see?

    • They are going to blame the opposition for anything that happens anyway, so…

      As for Scenario #1, one consequence could be that the Chinese start talking to the opposition, seeing as though their investments could be at risk.

      • I suspect that they may have already made discreet contacts with the opposition just in case . they know that some of the deals they´e made arent exactly ideal or totally kosher from a Venezuelan perspective and are sensitive to how fragile some of the legality ‘protecting’ these deals is . They could be a good partner for many Venezuelan ventures and plans if Venezuela has the right people on the other side . Once a new govt is in power there are a lot of options open for it to improve and realign existing relationships . I dont think China bashing is in Capriles books only the firm idea that it something is not quite right in the deals already made they will be revisited to straighten them out or cancell them . the chinese practice real politik , you dont have to act as if they are stupid , they are not !!

      • or.. that the chinese would step up their efforts to help the goverment so they won’t lose the “investment” they’ve made, in any case, I think it would be highly irresponsible not to honor a debt, a debt is a debt, if you want to create a stable climate to attract investment (the center of opposition rethoric) you need to respect any foreing agreement.

        The opposition needs to slam maduro for selling the country and attemp to convince the populace that the goverment is doing what they said Capriles would do (paquetazo y ceder los recursos nacionales), focusing in that any debt is bad and unnecesary considering the oil prices wich is what they’re doing, if anything, what we need is to make more noise.

      • I can’t believe the Chinese don’t see this as the glass half full and anticipate that even if there is a regime change in Venezuela, they will be there to continue the same and more “support of development.” which is, I believe, how they sell their product. It’s not like the power transitions and the need for cash suddenly disappears. It will be a generation or two before that happens.

  5. The opposition hasn’t even been able to sell this: Venezuela has wasted 11 billion dollars in buying Russian weapons. Russians are not even giving trinkets to Venezuelans.

    Venezuela has imported more weapons than any other American country in the last few years.
    And do Venezuelans in Miguel Pena think much about that? Nope.
    And what would happen if we told Russians we are not going to pay the over 4b. $ debt we have with them?
    Igor Sechin will fart and that’s all. He recently got a multimillion “loan” from Rosneft’ to buy some shares there, soon after he intervened for the inauguration of the Ulitsa Ugo Chaves in Moscow and for the oil deal with PDPVSA.
    And remember: José Rodríguez and María García haven’t got Russian gadgets.

  6. Its difficult to view Chinese influence in Venezuela as motivated by ideology or as inspired by a desire for domination , they re a fast growing country and need the resources we have and are willing to pay a price (not always the best from Venezuela’s perspective ) to gain access to those resources . Because they were invited in by our idiotic regime and the latter lacks the intelligence to deal with them to Venezuelas best advantage they are sure to have gamed many gains that a more savvy counterpart would not have allowed them . If the time comes when the current regime is replaced by a more conscientious one , then a renegotiation of many arrangements where they have been allowed a greater advantage than they should will be in order , Quite sure that being the practical people that they have become they will understand this necessary change in situation and adapt to it . Much of the current arrangements may be salvageable , other will have to be scrapped , there will be losses which will simply be unrecoverable . There is a place of chinese trade and investment in Venezuela , but no more than that of any other country with the will and means to engage in them . It may be unwise at this time for the opposition to take a position that ´come the revolution´ they will be kicked out of the country .It is unnecessary and probably would work againt the oppo’s interests

  7. The answer is quite simple and straightforward, people are afraid. Dictatorships and one party states play by a different set of rules. People understand that instinctively, especially those possessing political power. At times the repercussions for unmasking the hypocrisy of one party states can be severe. Look at the the thousands of opposition figures quickly rounded-up by the Nazis after taking power in 1933. They could all compare notes sitting in their cell blocks in Dachau. Look how Joseph Stalin hunted-down Trotsky in Mexico City in the 30’s. Or, look at how the KGB found a Bulgarian dissenter in London and jabbed him with a ricin-filled umbrella while standing on a train platform. But, why go that far in history when there are plenty of examples of such barbarity today. Remember this guy? Alexander Litvinenko?

    The guy who ordered his gruesome death behind closed doors is still in power today. Who’d a thought? How many demonstrations do you see in the streets today whenever this guy shows-up outside of mother Russia? Few. Very few. Why? The guys a criminal! Again, why? They’re afraid. Putin and his boys play by a different set of rules. Everyone knows it. It’s instinctive. The Chinese, although not quite as barbaric, also play by different rules. You wanna criticize them? Really? Tell em they’re the ‘new’ running dogs of imperialism in the world today? Yup, go right ahead. They might not do to you what Putin did to Litvinenko, but the Chinese will not soon forget your criticism. Nope. Washington might, and usually does. Not the Chinese. It’s a different set of rules……

  8. Petrobras is abandoning it’s cooperation with Pdvsa on the Abreu e Lima refinery. Is this another opportunity for China to tighten it’s grip on Venezuelan oil?

    • Brasil has never been a customer for Venezuelan oil , smart people that they are they prefer to buy it cheaper from the Persian Gulf using their own fleet of VLCC’s to bring it home , They also have their own prospects for becoming self sufficient and to export part of their production. As an oil partner we neither need them nor do they need us . the whole refinery idea was a hare brained scheme born of Chavez ignorant megalomania, of his feverish imagination !!

  9. Juan, your point is well-taken, but, the MUD doesn’t bash China for the same reason it doesn’t bash Chavez for his destruction of the Country–the basic Chavista audience the MUD needs to swing to the Oppo side when the time comes simply doesn’t give a damn, much less understand the reality of what has happened/is happening. The audience fully in the Oppo fold does know/understand what’s happening, but being out of power can do nothing about it.

      • An out-of-power Oppo has little, if any, leverage. The Chinese are banking on, as said here by others, the non-abrogation of Venezuelan state agreements by any new if/when Oppo Government, which, in any case, is the norm internationally after a state government change, and, in any case, these prior state agreements would usually be upheld in international courts.

        • these prior state agreements would usually be upheld in international courts…

          IF the Maduro takeover government had full and uncontested legal grounds ….

          • The chinese have been very concerned with the legality of their deals with the govt , more so than the latter , They ve had most of the deals carefully vetted by top venezuelan law firms to ensure their validity in Venezuelan Law . This shows that they are aware that dealing with Venezuela ( even with this regime) has its perils . Not sure that even if Maduros election is held later to have been fraudulent that necessarily invalidates the agreements entered into by his govt as in Venezuela contracts made by an authority are considered valid until that authority is officially held to been acquired in violation of the law. , Still interpreting laws is always a tricky thing , and the govt is never very finicky about crossing the t’s or dotting the i’s of their legal arrangements , wouldnt surprise me that arguments would be found that make some of the Chinese deals voidable or null, The Chinese have a large stake in Venezuela and will be interrested in keeping as much of it as possible even if there is a regime change. !!

          • The problem is that officially the majority “will of the people” has chosen Maduro and his Government to represent them legally, and this will be difficult to overturn in the future, since it has been validated by the CNE and TSJ, with probatory evidence to the contrary either now erased or destroyed. Only if, perhaps, Maduro were proven to have been invalid as a presidential candidate by way of Colombian birth might there be legal grounds to argue that his presidential actions were illegal, and even then this might not be determinant for the abrogation of contracts his Government entered into.

  10. Let’s play a fun game: What Chinese product/technology/service that has *not* been provided to Venezuela, would benefit Venezuela the most?

    • Probably the meritocratic technochratic sytem of Mandarin governance married to a capitalist market economy model thats served them so well . The problem of course is their tandem attachment to despotism and tyranical forms of political power with no margin for personal or political freedom . Chavistas have a lot of things to learn from them on the economic governance side .

      • It’s a fun game because if we’re honest, the Chinese are powering Venezuelan development in transport, agriculture, housing, electronics, and so many other things.

        If the most onerous condition of Chinese loans (not to be confused with payments) is that they charge interest, or require the purchase of Chinese goods, it’s a bit tragic that people around here think the IMF would be a preferable partner.

        • seems someone have been buying the state propaganda, probably the most onerous condition is to hand them our national resources exploitation rights for the future, not to forget the lack of transparency in wich the deals are made

          • Its always moving to find a mind so pure , tender and childlike that it credulously believes those silly fantasies as even the most discredited lier tells them , Yoyos are childrens playthings, What an apt name for our visiting troll.!!

        • and I don’t think that the imf is preferable either, in fact, I don’t think that any loan is necesary, especially if it is to fund gifts (washing machines, houses, etc) to the people, what is needed is to stop spending money giving away free gas and free everything and subsidizing state companies that are broken, the only good thing about and imf loan would be that it would force us to actually become productive.

        • Actually, the most onerous aspect of the economic relationship with China, in my mind, is the unnecessary importation of Chinese workers to execute the several works they are doing.

          Ditto for the Russians and Bielorussians.

          There is no technology/experience transfer in most of these projects.

          There are thousands upon thousands of foreign workers in our country, and there is little to no need for that.

          Our workers are perfectly capable of executing most of these projects, if a few supervisors are needed to come from outside, fine, but we do not need all these foreign laborers.

          That a part of these loans is in a Non Convertible Yuan is also a colonialist sign. It is “robber baronism” all over again.

      • I don’t envy their political/economical system, they are probably the most exploitative capitalism ever, the reason why all the transnationals have gone there is because they can pay 2 lochas to the workers

        • The labour conditions in China are such as the most rapacious capitalist would not dare dream about . Maybe Yoyo thinks we should also import those !! Also their food and enviromental standards . ( includes allowing the sale of milk products that kill babies ) They are the most savage capitalists in todays world . Still must admit that the Chinese model , whatever its failures , flaws and shortcomings , appears to work for them , Not sure its exportable to anywhere else …and they know it !!.

  11. Upset the world’s other superpower before you get your hands anywhere near the one ring to rule them all? That really would be treasonously bad.

    • I agree with this. Although it is tempting to take a principled approach about this, the truth is that positions like what JC suggests will only annoy the Chinese and concern them little. You only gain a powerful enemy. Furthermore this will give arguments to the Government to point out to the Chinese how unreasonable the Opposition is. I think it is a no win all around.

      No. The way to play this is the opposite. Keep public comments neutral and in private be nice. Reassure the Chinese that all agreements will be reviewed with pragmatism. You may even hint about new future deals and close cooperation. Then, if the opposition ever gets back in power, shaft them if it is determined that this is best for the country.

      I know I know. Unprincipled, dishonest, immoral. Maybe I’ve become a cynic but I don’t see any other way of playing this.

      The truth is that who is selling the country out is Maduro et al. China is just not putting any roadblocks in their way.

      • Not only unprincipled and dishonest, but also incredibly naive.

        Or am I the naive one for thinking government officials in an emerging empire care enough not to get bamboozled?

        “Though the United States has had little to comment on the matter, facing their own deep economic and social issues, analysts think their government would not interfere with the Chinese government’s humanitarian military intervention in Venezuela following the alleged terrorist attack that killed four and injured forty-two in a Maiquetía airport terminal last week, where chinese workers were waiting to return to their homes after a year’s work on several Chinese government projects in Venezuela.

        The Chinese government has rejected claims made by apologists of the Yellow House in Venezuela that the intervention is simply an attempt by the Chinese government to get a return on their decades long investments, renegged by the opposition coalition government headed by Stalin González at the beginning of last May, via an alleged ‘soft colonization’ of its markets and political structures as it has alredy done in Cuba and Chukilandia.

        Analysts believe that this marks a new era in United States foreign policy, one marked by non-interventionism and an open approach to emerging powers.”

  12. Blaming the new imperio makes no more sense than blaming the old imperio. The blame belongs to Maduro and his party. When an eventual MUD government says it will deliver only 20% of the oil due on the extortionate contracts, they will be renogotiated, because really, what is the alternative?

  13. Anyone remember the exorbitant sovereign loans made by ‘superpower’ banks to Latam governments, in the 80’s, and the consequences? Meaning, the IMF stepping in to mop up the mess and demand fiscal responsibility — from those same Latam government borrowers?

    Oh, the hue and cry from the left!

    Those greedy bankers! That mean, mean IMF! (Leftistspeak can be so darned infantile beneath all the jargon).

    As the Venez government digs itself deeper and deeper in debt, the Chinese rubbing their hands in glee, where are those same leftists, today, why aren’t they calling out what’s really going on?

    What a conflict!

    • http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/2253

      In a Letter of Intention signed with the IMF on February 28th, while most large Venezuelan cities were in the throes of generalized rioting and looting, the basic premises of the Pérez plan were laid out as follows: government spending and salaries were to be restricted, exchange rates and interest rates were to be deregulated (thereby eliminating what were essentially interest rate subsidies for farmers), price controls were to be relaxed, subsidies were to be reduced, sales tax was to be introduced, prices of state-provided goods and services (including petroleum) were to be liberalized, tariffs were to be eliminated and imports liberalized, and in general, foreign transactions in Venezuela were to be facilitated.

      In brief, this plan meant a potent cocktail of stagnating incomes in the face of skyrocketing prices and monetary devaluation. As might be expected, poverty reached a peak in 1989, claiming 44% of households (a figure which had doubled in absolute terms during the course of five years), with 20% of the population in extreme poverty.

      • yes, yoyo, when I want credible information, my go-to source is venezuelanalysis, which provides no sources for statistics. And that’s just for starters. I’ll pass.

    • True. Actually, PJ Memo Arocha provided a better view in Twitter, at least he said
      “Lo peor del endeudamiento con China no es sólo la magnitud y la poca transparencia, sino q no se invierta en desarrollo. #Cambio”

    • at leas @hcapriles tweeted this the 22th of september “Así se resume el viaje de los enchufados a China,fueron a buscar $ y a entregar como garantía lo que es de los venezolanos!”

  14. At very least Capriles might request a better transparency for what this “development” loan is spent. China is a market with a fierce competition to sell their industrial production at reasonable prices. The opportunity costs for shipping some washing machines to Venezuela are very low. Probably they wonder, why nobody asks questions. Silence is “voy a pagar calladito” mentality.

  15. You guys make it look “so simple”… All the discussion is set as a stand-off between two adversaries. Just take a look at the stakeholders of the Syrian mess. This Venezuelan/Chinese affaire is a lot deeper than the superficial issues that touch both countries. It involves China setting up camp on this side of the world, and in a territory full of goodies that chinese talent, technology and workmanship can take to high, very high levels of commercial excellency (power that is…). Strategically it means they will be down-the-street neighbors of the other empire, for good or for worse… And being quasi neighbors of the other contender for universal power on the other side of the world means China would be in a position of moving important planetary reins. Like some of you mentioned, what do the chinese care about what the MUD may think or do? They have their strategy going forward with the naive help of a rogue, intoxicated, illiterate government interested solely in their own personal richfare.


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