Venezuela turns to Russia for help with political, economic crises

World Today

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez attend a joint news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 1, 2019. Venezuela’s vice president is visiting Russia, voicing hope for stronger ties with Moscow amid the U.S. pressure. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Venezuela’s Vice President said the country will rely on food and medicines from Russia to counter the impact of sanctions.

During high-level meetings in Moscow, she also said the European offices of the state-owned oil company will be moved to Russia, and she held the door open for more Russian investment. CGTN’s Julia Chapman has more.

Thousands of miles from crisis at home, Venezuela’s vice president shoring up support from a staunch ally. Russia has thrown its weight firmly behind Nicolas Maduro’s government, and on Friday vowed to take that commitment even further, offering additional wheat shipments and medical supplies.

“Speaking generally about the humanitarian situation in Venezuela, naturally I think mass supplies of Russian wheat substantially help in its normalization,” said Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. “It helps the Venezuelan government to solve ongoing problems.”

But the humanitarian crisis is becoming harder to contain, and the world is deeply divided over how to help. A stalemate has reigned at the U.N. Security Council, where Russia and the U.S. have been blocking each other’s resolutions. Russia is calling for recognition of the Maduro government, while the U.S. wants fresh elections and unfettered aid access.

“With regard to what Russia can do, I think it can block the recognition of the alternative government of Guaido in the U.N. Security Council, and it can really do the same as it did in Syria, which is preventing the US and its allies from having their way in the U.N.,” said Alexander Gabuev of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Moscow.

Dozens of countries have joined the U.S. in supporting this man, opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself Venezuela’s leader. But Maduro still controls the military and oil company PDVSA. On her visit to the Russian capital, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez announced that PDVSA will move its European headquarters to Moscow.

The visit to Moscow signifies a growing reliance on the Kremlin by the Maduro government. As Russia and the U.S. continue to lock horns at the UN, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says he believes the U.S. may yet intervene in Venezuela militarily, but he refrained from saying how far Russia’s support would extend in response.

Real News’ Aaron Mate on Venezuela seeking more support from Russia

To discuss how two sides of Venezuela’s crisis seek more backing from key allies, CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke with Aaron Mate, the host and producer of “The Real News,” an online news network. He’s also a contributor to the “Nation” magazine.