Venezuela Is Not a Big Priority for Russia, China or Iran

Venezuela had strong ties with the United States until 1998, when Hugo Chávez was elected president. With the world’s largest proven oil reserves, the country of 32 million should be wealthy. But Chávez and Nicolás Maduro revised the constitution, concentrating presidential power in their hands, while mismanaging the economy and oil industry. More than 80 percent of Venezuelan households live in poverty, dealing with rampant inflation and shortages of basic goods. Carlo Jose Vicente Caro notes that economic challenges have influenced foreign relations: “The official line is that the government is strengthening strategic relations with partners like Moscow and Beijing as well as Tehran. But the Maduro administration has exaggerated the strength of those ties. The priority is not helping Venezuela but countering US hegemony in regional politics.” With Venezuela defaulting on some bonds, Russia and China have slowed lending. Venezuela is over-dependent on oil exports and still relies on the US oil market. Caro concludes, “Venezuela is but a pawn for legitimizing those countries’ policies on the world stage rather than advancing a real agenda of its own. – YaleGlobal