A few weeks ago I wrote an article for Foreign Policy’s Transitions blog about Nicolás Maduro’s China trip. Given the influence China is playing in how Venezuela shapes its policies, I labeled Maduro the Manchurian President. (If you have trouble accessing the article, here it is in Portuguese)
“Consistent with [China providing loans with strings attached], in the summer of 2011, businessmen working with PDVSA in Caracas told me how any proposals for projects drawing on this Chinese loan were first being sent for approval to the Chinese embassy in Caracas, then passed to Beijing and, if approved, the money would be closely watched over when it was sent to Venezuela.
Not to put too fine a point on this, but Chavista functionaries directly knowledgeable of meetings in Caracas between leading Chavistas and Chinese officials also told me, in mid-2011, how Beijing had sent inspectors into Bolivarian ministries and national facilities to see what had been done with their previous grants and loans. And, they were very negatively impressed. This became widely known in Venezuela.” (emphasis is mine)
Imagine that – a foreign power dictating how Venezuela should spend the proceeds from its oil sales. Why, it’s almost enough to want to start a Revolution, contra los apátridas.