Venezuela crisis started in early 2019 when opposition leader, Juan Guaido declared himself as an interim president of Venezuela. He had a strong USA backing. He was hopeful that removing president Nicolas Maduro will be an easy task for him. Guaido had a plan to ouster Maduro by declaring his (Maduro’s) government illegal. After ousting Maduro, Guaido was hopeful to conclude elections. Guaido was hopeful that these elections will pave way for him to assume the president’s office.
However, more than six months have passed and Guaido is unable to remove Maduro’s grip on Venezuelan authorities. Experts think that strong Chinese and Russian support for Maduro is creating hurdles for Guaido. China has strong financial and military relations with Venezuela. China refused to recognize Guaido’s government citing that supporting Guaido’s government will amount to interfere in internal affairs of a sovereign state.
American authorities accuse China of the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. The USA believes that China’s support for Maduro is creating hurdles in bringing peace in Venezuela. An important US army officer, Admiral Craig Faller claimed that China provided surveillance technology to Venezuela and this technology is now being used by the government to suppress the people. Guaido also realized that China is an important factor in the ongoing Venezuela crisis. Therefore Guaido is trying to engage China diplomatically.
In his article in Bloomberg, Guaido maintained that opposition government can effectively protect Chinese interests in Venezuela. He also claimed that the new government will offer new incentives for China. He urged that China should stop supporting Maduro for the betterment of China-Venezuela relations.
China sees Venezuela as an important ally in the neighbor of its economic rival USA. China made heavy investments in Venezuela to establish strong connections with this oil-rich country. China wants to establish a strong relationship with Venezuela to overcome its (China’s) energy demand.
China established strategic relations with Venezuela under the government of Hugo Chavez. Chavez passed away in 2013, however, relations between China and Venezuela remained strong under Maduro’s government. In the last eighteen years, Chinese direct investment in Venezuela reached six billion dollars. Also, Chinese loans to Venezuela have reached sixty billion dollars. The major part of Chinese loans was spent in the Oil sector of Venezuela. About twelve years ago, in 2007, China created the China-Venezuela Joint Fund (FCCV). Under this fund, Venezuela received loans from China and paid these loans via shipment of crude oil.
The FCCV allowed China to work on the Orinoco Oil Belt which is the world’s largest oil reservoir. After having these huge loans, Venezuela is facing difficulties in repaying them now. The ongoing political crisis is also causing economic troubles for Venezuela. China sees this politically and economically troubled Venezuela as a threat to its energy security. Amid this political instability, China has stopped its direct investment in Venezuela. Now China has also stopped issuing loans to Venezuela.
Despite these steps, China is still supporting Maduro. Experts opine that China wants a socialist ally with a like-minded head in the neighborhood of America. Venezuela gained strategic importance for China. So despite Guaido’s offers China is not willing to work with the opposition government. China fears that the opposition government will demand changes in loan conditions imposed by China.
Opposition’s close relations with the USA is also a reason for China’s support for Maduro. China thinks that the Opposition government can prefer American interests over Chinese interests. To overcome the Venezuela crisis, Guaido will have to assure china on the protection of its interests. Guaido will have to show neutrality between China and the USA. If opposition manages to get Chinese support it can easily form its government in Venezuela.
The USA can also play an important role by drafting a proposal acceptable for both the opposition and government of Venezuela. However, Maduro has a hawkish approach towards the USA. Therefore American efforts will not be acceptable for all parties. In the Venezuela crisis, only China can propose a long-lasting peace agreement.
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