Huang Yuxiang, Wu Kanghong
, March 17, 2019, Volume 33, Issue 10
The Venezuelan economy is on the verge of collapse. One-tenth of the country's population (3 million) fleeing the country. The opposition leader Guaido is sworn in as the interim president, recognized by the United States, the European Union and most Latin American countries, and the Chinese-backed President Madhu Luo beat to Taiwan. In an exclusive interview with Asia Weekly, Guaido pointed out that it will respect China's status as a global power and recognize China's economic strength in Latin America. Guadeo pointed out that due to the corruption and incompetence of the Maduro government, China’s economic interests in the committee have been damaged, and he actively seeks China’s support.
Venezuela, which is thousands of miles away from China, is caught in super inflation and the economy is on the verge of collapse. One-tenth of the country's population (three million) fleeing the country is typical of the Failed Nation. The opposition leader and president of the country, Juan Guaidó, came to the fore and announced himself as interim president on January 23. The Lima Group, composed of the European Union, the United States and most Latin American countries, recognizes his legal status in more than 50 countries, but China and Russia still recognize the Maduro regime. The Maduro government still holds the main The military power made Guaido, who was supported by the people, confronted Maduro, who was in power. At the juncture, opposition leader Guaido is still actively seeking Chinese support, saying that the serious corruption of the Maduro regime has caused China to suffer economic losses. It shows that Guadeo is striving to maintain good China while striving for domestic civil servants and military support. relationship. If China falls to Guade, the Maduro regime, which has been besieged on all sides, may collapse immediately. Guaido hopes that China will at least maintain a neutral attitude. Guaido respects China's status as a global power and recognizes China's economic strength in Latin America.
With Guaido taking the oath to become the interim president of Venezuela, there are two local presidents who claim to have legal status. The United States and the European Union actively support him. China and Russia still support the current government of Maduro, adding a lot of tension to the local tension. . Although China supports Maduro’s current regime, it has not completely blocked the door to negotiations with the opposition. Just after Guadeo announced his appointment as interim president, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying expressed "opposing external interference in Venezuelan affairs. Support the Venezuelan government's efforts to safeguard national sovereignty, independence and stability. China has always pursued the principle of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs and opposed external intervention in Venezuela. It hopes that the international community will jointly create favorable conditions for this." Reflecting that China does not completely reject the opposition. Governing, at this stage as much as possible to maintain a neutral attitude.
Since Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías came to power in 1999, he has been promoting socialist left-wing reforms. As the world’s largest oil reserve country, Venezuela has exchanged medical care for Cuba on the basis of oil dollars. This promotion of large-scale social welfare is called "the socialism of the 21st century." Chavez called this the "Bolivarian Revolution." However, when the oil price fell, the bus driver and the leader of the trade union leader Maduro was not good at economic management. The state-owned oil company was in a chaotic operation and the factional struggle was serious. Former President Chavez and current President Maduro did not appoint professional talent management. Professional talents are gradually losing, domestic corruption is serious, and Venezuela’s oil production has continued to decline over the past decade, but welfare spending is still high and the currency is collapsing. Venezuela has a rare economic crisis in human history. As of November 2018, the annual inflation rate reached 1.3 million, the price rose 13,000 times, and 3 million people fled. The country has made a living in another country and has become a people who have lost their motherland. There is a serious shortage of basic supplies such as medicine and food. Public organizations and hospitals are facing a lockout. More than 100 soldiers stationed on the border even sneaked into Colombia on the Colombian border because of the attraction of relief supplies.
Yao Xia (a pseudonym), an overseas Chinese living in the capital Caracas, is 44 years old. He came to Venezuela at the age of four. He is a local civil servant. He is a local middle class with stable income. But in the past two or three years, the economic downturn has also made his life miserable. Yao Xia said: "(Inflation) increases by three to four percentages a day. My parents have a restaurant and they have to increase their price by 20% every week. It is very exaggerated." Under normal inflation, normal economic activities are in collapse. . Even daily necessities, Yao Xia must go to the black market to buy goods, but they must use the US dollar, or buy in large quantities, such as twenty or thirty bags of rice, can buy. In addition to daily necessities, Yao Xia also said: "Doctors, lawyers and other professionals do not accept Bolivar (local currency), directly trading in the US dollar, because the value of the money in one or two days has changed, all computers Electronic products such as mobile phones are all calculated in US dollars."
Today's Venezuela has two classes, earning a dollar class and a class without a dollar. If a big company does not pay US dollars for wages, professionals will leave. Yao Xia also said that most of his young colleagues have left the country and immigrated to Chile. ,Argentina. Yao Xia also said frankly: "Fortunately, my wife works for a Chinese company, the company will issue US dollars, and the restaurant has some business, otherwise life will be difficult."
The capital of Venezuela, the capital of Venezuela, is known for its poor security and has a large number of slums. However, Yao Xia said that because the economy is too bad, thieves and thieves are also difficult to make a living. According to him, many thieves have made a living in Peru, but they have been caught by local police. As for the thief, Bolivar is constantly devalued and stealing has no value, which makes the law and order of the general civilian area worse. However, Yao Xia said: "Now it is not worried about thieves. It is afraid that some people are too hungry and will fight people. Something. Because some students on the street will come to you next door, you give him money, he will directly say no money, give me food."
Public services are also in a state of suspension due to super inflation. Yao Xia said: "For example, if you want to get an ID card, there is no one to work in a government agency. If you have a relationship, you will have a service." The medical situation is equally bad. The government hospital lacks funds and the drugs are seriously inadequate. Private hospitals now use US dollars. Charges. As a result, many locals in Venezuela died because they could not get the right medical treatment. The power supply is of course extremely unstable. Yao Xia said that some areas have been out of power for a week, causing economic activity to stop.
Another reason for the Venezuelan crisis stems from the political crisis in the country, from the Chavez administration to the Maduro government, the demonstrations of the domestic opposition, and the mass strikes have not stopped. In particular, the Maduro government held the Constituent Assembly election. The Venezuelan legislature was originally implemented by the National Assembly of Venezuela. In the 2015 parliamentary elections, the opposition League "Democratic Unity Roundtable" (16) won a total victory, one hundred and six Among the seventeen seats, there were 112 seats and the ruling party had only 55 seats. Even in 2016, the three members were disqualified in the name of "election fraud". The opposition still has parliamentary veto power. In order to abolish the power of the Parliament, the Maduro Government held the "Constitutional Assembly Election" in 2017 to elect the "Constituent Assembly" for its own use, which made the power of the Parliament ineffective, and also enabled the United States to intervene in Venezuelan affairs. Under the pretext, the "Constituent Assembly" was put up for operation on August 4 of that year. The Lima Group was established on August 8th, four days later. It now includes 14 countries including Argentina and Brazil. Ending the political crisis in Venezuela by peaceful means also condemning the fraud in the Venezuelan presidential election in 2018.
The successive constitutional crises in recent years and the severe economic waning have caused the opposition in Venezuela to sound the assembly number. At the same time, since Chavez took office, until the 20 years of Maduro’s administration, he also created quite a number of exiles, perhaps against the left-wing socialist reforms, and also dissatisfied with economic development. These Venezuelans who fled overseas, Many are now supporters of Guade. Cinzia De Santis, who has been working in oil companies, left Venezuela in 2003. She actively participated in politics and demonstrated on the streets every week, making her feel that "Venezuela's situation is very bad, there are a lot of Demonstrations and casualties, especially the school of their own daughter, were hit by tear gas several times, and when the Venezuelan broke out at the time, they resolutely left to work for BP and travel to London. Another Sofia Leventis in London left Venezuela in 1999, when Chavez was just on the stage. His parents felt that Venezuela's economy would be in trouble, so she decided to study abroad, but still The parents in Venezuela kept close contact, and Sophia also revealed: "Parents and other family members are very nervous in their daily lives. They are all facing food shortages." Sophia is very dissatisfied with the status quo, and also has high hopes for Guaido. "He can unite us (Venezuela), my friends, everyone has a lot of expectations for him."
Karina Hernandez, the representative of the Venezuelan opposition party in London, has received higher education in the country. She worked in the capital city of Caracas, the opposition-controlled city of Chaka, as the chief financial officer, but not only the quality of life is poor, but also In the case of a gun robbery, the car was stolen, and she felt that Venezuela’s law and order was very poor. She left and moved to London in September 2012. What makes her most feel is that she has not met her family for seven years. Her father, due to a shortage of drugs, spent his last years in the waiting room of the hospital without being able to afford private hospital treatment. Passed away. Andres Echeverria, a third-year student in the Department of Political and Social Sciences at Newcastle University, who grew up in an international school in Venezuela, said: "My family can afford overseas tuition because parents prepare early and put their deposits overseas before the economic crisis."
These Venezuelans who are overseas are themselves local middle class. Zhang Cuirong, a Hong Kong war correspondent who has interviewed the locals, also said, "The middle class in Venezuela is very powerful, so this crisis can be regarded as a class struggle." It is believed that the rise of the opposition is "due to the failure of economic policy and the restoration of the right-wing middle class."
The opposition led by Guaydo emerged, and the international community appeared in two camps. Last year, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Colombia and other Latin American countries and countries that criticized the Venezuelan presidential election issued a statement acknowledging that Guaido was an interim president. Among them, US Vice President Burns said that the United States will consider all methods, including military intervention to force Maduro to step down and impose economic sanctions on the Maduro government. At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized Maduro for powering this political crisis to be launched abroad, jeopardizing peace in the region, and publicly supporting the existing government with several countries including China, Turkey and Cuba.
The countries actively expressed their views and announced a number of policies, respectively supporting the two presidents, assistant professors of the University of Warwick, and long-term studies of emerging countries and Latin American politics. Tom Long told Asia Weekly: "We should not focus on what the United States, Russia or China want to get from it, but more importantly how Venezuelans try to achieve their goals through international relations. Venezuelans know better than the outside world. Domestic situation, so they will try to benefit from the relationship with the United States, Russia, China, Cuba and neighboring Latin American countries."
The United States has imposed a number of economic sanctions on Venezuela since 2015 in an effort to force the Maduro government to step down. After Guadeo became the interim president, the US government stopped paying accounts of the Maduro regime and the national oil company PDVSA to reduce the cash flow on which he relied and deposited the cash into accounts that only Guaido could use. In addition, other countries also responded to US economic sanctions and stopped doing business with the Venezuelan National Oil Company. Among them, the Bank of England refused the Maduro government to withdraw the 1.3 billion US dollars of gold stored in London, and gradually smashed Venezuela with an economic blockade. Cut off financial aid. At the same time, the United States is also trying to transport relief supplies to Venezuela. If the opposition has the right to distribute materials, it will undoubtedly have the chips to win the people and the military.
For the economic sanctions imposed by the United States on Venezuela, Alan, a member of the Media Research Group at the University of Glasgow, who studies Latin American political propaganda, fake news, and social media. Dr. Alan MacLeod pointed out: "Since President Monroe announced that Latin America is the sphere of influence in the United States in 1823, the United States has always regarded Venezuela as part of its "backyard." He continued: "The United States The documents show that their long-term goal in Venezuela is to change the regime and put the region under its control. Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves, able to control and profit from this oil resource, for the United States It is a huge incentive." This reflects that the "new Monroe doctrine" thinking of the United States is leading their strategy for Latin America. The Monroe spectre that has gradually faded over the decades has hovered over Latin America.
Evan, Senior Partner, Americas Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies, American Think Tank. Evan Ellis believes that Venezuela's oil resources cannot fully explain the interests and activities of the United States and other countries in Venezuela. He said: "Although many people mentioned the US demand for oil resources in Venezuela, the United States has its own oil. Production, the shale in the United States is now self-sufficient, so Venezuela’s oil is only a drop in the ocean for the United States. On the contrary, he believes: "Because Latin America is geographically and economically bordered by the United States, the United States has effective governance and society for Venezuela. Stability has important interests. Venezuela has led to more than three million refugees leaving the country because of poor management, affecting Colombia and the entire region. The US interest is to ensure stability and prosperity in Venezuela."
In the face of the economic isolation of the United States and its allies against Venezuela, Russia has been an important ally of former President Chavez and current President Maduro for many years. Glasgow University scholar Mark Reid pointed out: "Since Chavez criticized the US invasion of Afghanistan and the re-nationalization of the oil industry, he became the target of Washington. Therefore, Chavez adopted more multilateral trade policies and reduced dependence on the United States. And increase relations and trade with countries such as Russia and China." In recent months, Russia also sent two military jets to the Venezuelan air base to carry out the mission; Reuters reported that Russia sent 400 jobs. In order to strengthen the security of the Maduro government, it seems that Russia is also deploying interventions in local affairs.
Russia’s move is intended to show his influence, emphasizing Russia’s disagreement with the US military’s attempt to overthrow Maduro. However, Warwick University professor Langji said: "Russia is taking symbolic measures to show its participation and support to increase the cost of the United States to eradicate Maduro, and to make a costly commitment to the United States through some symbolic commitment to Maduro. Signal." Alice also believes that Russia has little interest in the Maduro government: "I think Putin believes that the survival of Venezuela gives him a choice to provoke trouble with the United States and find an alliance to fight against the United States." He pointed out: "By adhering to the Maduro regime, Russia will not benefit, so four of the five Russian oil companies have left Venezuela, which proves how bad the business environment under the Maduro government is." Economic interests do not match political attitudes, and may be bluffing.
As for China's attitude in Venezuela, Professor Alice believes that there are multiple indications that Chinese companies have encountered difficulties under the administration of Maduro government: "After my exchanges with my colleagues in China, I found Venezuela's business for China. This is a disappointing investment environment. Like Chinese carmaker Geely and mobile phone manufacturer Huawei, it is difficult for them to sign a project with Maduro, set up a production line and get enough production supplies.” Therefore, he believes that China still supports Maduro. The government is because "China is not willing to give up friends, although troubled friends will bring China to a bad situation. Moreover, China is also worried that the West, which succeeded in transforming its power, will use the same method to deal with China."
The political and economic crisis in Venezuela has failed to rule on the governance of the Maduro government. Venezuela has become a typical failure country in the event of economic collapse and the emergence of large-scale refugees. At the same time, Venezuela still has huge oil resources and 30 million people. The economic potential cannot be ignored. The United States, China and Russia all play an important role in this big game. With the sudden rise of opposition leader Guaydo, it is possible for Venezuela to become a world. No matter how the government changes, China’s primary protection is still to protect its own economic interests. Venezuela also needs China’s support before it can get out of the crisis and rebuild. Only by the country and the development of the economy can we get rid of the reincarnation cycle in the famous Latin American writer Marquez's famous book "One Hundred Years of Solitude", truly grow into a normal country, have good governance ability and a sound democratic system. The opposition leader, Guaido, is full of confidence in all of this. He repeatedly said: "Faith! Full of confidence and confidence in the changes we have set!" Like all revolutionary leaders in the past. (Intern 邬姣喆, Ling Zhaoying participated in the recording) ■
Iria Luz Suarez, one of our senior volunteers, gave an interview to TRT World where she explains the dramatic situation Venezuela is going through
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