Blame it on Beijing

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When readers suggested I explore the relationship between Venezuela and China on the blog, I was less than enthralled. After all, pretty much all you need to know about these two countries can be summed up in this headline:

Marco Torres

That pretty much sums it up: China bankrolls the revolution, and in exchange Venezuela gives it what it wants: oil, political cover, and even diplomatic support to protect China’s interests, such like what we saw with regards to North Korea.

The baffling, frustrating aspect of the relationship is why the opposition doesn’t bash China more often.

China bankrolls the government that oppresses us; it sells us the washing machines they buy elections with; and it provides diplomatic cover to wash their faces internationally for their abuses. Why is the opposition not denouncing this?

Kowtowing to China is not something the opposition needs to be engaging in. No harm will come from distancing ourselves from China – it’s not like a hypothetical opposition government is going to get anything but scorn from Beijing. In fact, we have a lot to lose from keeping quiet and appearing as weak.

Bashing China may even be domestically popular. When we visited Guárico a few years ago, there was widespread resentment of the way the Chinese were operating – they would come with their workers and have nothing to do with the local workforce. The fact that our country is highly endebted to China, and that the money comes with strings attached – we need to use them to buy Chinese goods – is an outrage that needs to be confronted.

Criticizing the use of Chinese funds is not enough – that is an anti-corruption stance, not a foreign policy stance. The opposition needs to go beyond that, and denounce the alingment between China and chavismo. Ultimately, the question they should answer is whether they believe Chinese interests are aligned with Venezuela’s. Clearly, the answer is no.

The Venezuelan opposition needs to come clean with regards to China’s toxic influence on our politics. China does not share our strategic interests, and they do not share the values that we (should) hold dear. If we oppose China’s influence on our country, we need to come clean and say it. If we don’t, then we’re tacitly approving it.

1 COMMENT

  1. Free question: Does any oppo goverment in power can, you know, actually tell the chinese that we aren’t going to pay them anything because those agreements are unconstitutional?

    Because an scenario is that we have to pay the “debt” to the chinese anyways, in which case, it doesn’t matter what happens, this country is just an Eastern Block colony. Would explain why the MUD is quiet on the subject. Though is more likely that they don’t speak about that because is not an inmediate problem to the precious lumpen that the MUD believes that is too stupid to understand it.

  2. Because even the Opposition is sensitive about being cast in the role of “Lacayos del Imperio”. The Chavez rhetoric against the U.S. was successful. Remember that the “Revolution” defines itself as being “anti-imperialistic”, meaning that anything the U.S. is for, Chavismo is against. Anyone who aligns themselves with U.S. interests, regardless of how much they actually coincide with Venezuela’s interests, will be seen and labeled as a sellout to the Empire.

  3. China is simply doing what she has always been doing; furthering its national interests. And by that I mean exploiting gullible third-world resource-rich banana republic cesspools like Venezuela, Angola, Mozambique, Myanmar, etc, etc.

    Stop blaming others for all your predicaments. You Venezuelans brought it upon yourselves when you people started voting for Chavez. You LET yourselves be exploited by Beijing. Ain’t democracy awesome?

    • Todos los dias sueltan un guevon pa la calle, el que lo agarre es suyo?
      I completely agree with you and that is exactly what this article is about. We got screwed but we should at least complaint about it. I don’t blame China for what they did, if I have the chance I will do it myself. The problem is the opposition doesn’t want to mention the subject thinking the people will not understand it.

  4. I think Venezuela would do well to focus its attention on the internal dynamics that have made Venezuela a highly dependent, polarized, unproductive society. One side demonizes the USA while the other side tends to demonize China. Venezuela’s market for oil and gas has and will continue to shift from N. America to Asia. Shifting the blame along with the market from one to the other misses the essence of Venezuela’s problem(s), IMHO

    Chinese investments in oil and gas in Venezuela now rank only fourth in Latin America (behind Argentina, Brazil and even behind Cuba) according to recent data. The Chinese intention, back in Dec 2007 when the first big deals were signed in Beijing with Chavez was that Venezuela would receive China’s largest overseas investments of any country anywhere. However, in spite of all its mineral riches, which the Chinese–and many others–would have very much liked to invest in, Venezuela simply could not productively absorb the capital.

    Since the economic crisis, Chinese firms have invested much more in oil and gas in N America than Venezuela. Watch out, the North Americans are poised to take Venezuela’s new “natural market” for themselves.

    The Fourth Republic essentially collapsed, and its parties dramatically lost the support of the electorate, from its own incompetence and social-political decay, … which led to the Fifth, … which has done even worse. A different sort of government and oil company could have taken Chinese capital and woven a very different outcome over the past decade during the period when Venezuela’s former “natural market’ in the USA was gradually fading away. Most of that opportunity is now lost forever.. That might be where the criticism, self-examination, and future plans should be focused.

  5. Denouncing the “imperio Chino” instead of the “imperio Yanqui” may achieve some political gains, since Miami is more attractive to Venezuelans than Beijing is. A claim that “the Venezuelan government is mismanaging everything!” Is closer to the truth.

  6. I think it is naive to pass judgment on the government for its increasing relations with China. One need not share the same democratic culture in order to have strong economic links (need this even be argued?). In fact the argument has always been that such links encourage closed societies to open up. Even South Korea, constantly under threat from the north, has pursued a policy of encouraging openness through attempts at economic investment. In any case, it is unclear to me to what extent the chinese pressure Caracas in terms of foreign policy. The chavernment’s choice of aligning itself with other despots is probably rather natural, even if encouraged by chinese “generosity”.

    But if you are going to ask such questions, perhaps you should also ask, how would it be different if the loans came from the USA or Europe or some other country? Is a shared culture the measure of a good investment? Isn’t that rather narrow-minded?

  7. The opposition doesn’t come clean regarding China for the same reason it doesn’t come clean about las misiones, subsidies or cadivi. In the end half of the people on thjs side are hoping to just have a change in government but not a change in project. They do not despise chavismo for what it is, but instead they despise chavismo for not sharing the pie with them.

    • Dando en el Clavo!

      Opposition for the most part is just another part of the establishment chavista.
      the establishment chavista is non other that a revamped adecopeyano establishment with foreign direction now days.
      The sovereign (el pueblo mesmo) is the same in both cases, a cast character called to the play every 5 years or so the script of “electoral democracy”.

      Meanwhile governing the nation of Venezuela is only the best business around to get filthy rich, fast.

  8. The reason is simple, it is the same why the US doesn’t denounces China, it can’t, China is super power nobody wants to offend and everybody wants to do business with.

    Lefties like it because it is a communist ruled country. Despite the fact it has one of the poorest record on labour rights in the world.

    Righties like it because, well admit it, it’s just a freaking gold mine for business.

  9. At the end of the day, the opposition can’t offend china because if the oppo actually regains power someday, it will count on china to assist with more infrastructure investments. Now especially with Oil in the US not needing Venezuelan oil anymore due to its oil productions in PENN, N Dakota, etc, or even its access to Canadian oil, (if pipeline ever gets passed) they would count on china to sell their oil to. Although I will admit, what the opposition should at least do is make a fuss of why are we hiring chinese workers and paying in dollars, instead of hiring venezuelan firms to do the same thing and better and just pay them in dollars? basically like Daniel’s Venezuelan blog, its basically dollarizing the economy practically…

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