Venezuela marked 40 years of diplomatic relations with China this weekend. China has become one of Venezuela most important import trading partners in recent years, but the heightened alliance has also caused some criticism and concern in Venezuela. CCTV’s Martin Markovits has the story.
At the historic Casa Amarilla, the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Caracas, China and Venezuela commemorated 40 years of diplomatic relations on Saturday. The event was celebrated with much fanfare, marking the deep diplomatic ties the countries share.
While the alliance is longstanding, it was only in recent years, under the late Hugo Chavez that trade ties drastically deepened. He made China one of Venezuela’s principal trading partners during his presidency, moving away from traditional western powers, like the United States.
“From the beginning El Comandante Hugo Chavez had the vision that Venezuela needed to look towards the People’s Republic of China to secure its independence.” Elisas Jaua, Venezuelan Foreign Minister says.
At the core of the alliance, is the Chinese Venezuela-Fund. In exchange for oil, Venezuela receives billions of dollars in Chinese loans. The deal has been key for fueling China’s growing economy, but also for funding some of Venezuela’s most ambitious socialist government projects. Chinese loans have changed the face of Caracas’ infrastructure– and can be seen in free housing, transportation and roadways
There are growing fears that money has been used for short term or electoral gains, with little oversight. This commuter rail that was promised by Chavez is more than two years overdue. Unfinished works like these can be seen across the country, and have fueled both criticism and concern.
Venezuela has received more than 40 billion dollars in Chinese loans through the fund, but as infrastructure projects stall, critics like Carlos Luna, a professor of international relations, suggest much of that much of the money may be getting misdirected.
“Venezuela is benefiting in the sense that some of its immediate needs are being satisfied, but there is no investment for the long term, but China is benefiting in the long term.”says Carlos Luna, Professor of Foreign Relations at Venezuela Central University