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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, October 10, 2016 (Sputnik photo by Alexei Druzhinin via AP).

Embattled Venezuela Can Still Count on International Lifelines, From Russia to China

Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017

Venezuelans endured a particularly difficult year in 2016. Inflation skyrocketed; scarcities lingered; crime continued to soar; and the Venezuelan currency plummeted, albeit with a bit of a December rebound as OPEC cut oil production levels and the government eliminated its 100-bolivar note, its largest and most-used bill. The year offered little respite for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, too. The opposition, which has controlled the National Assembly for the past year, continued to press for a recall referendum, while many political actors abandoned the dialogue mediated by the Vatican. Beyond the country’s borders, conservative governments replaced leftist ones in Argentina and Brazil, and the Common Market of the South, or Mercosur, suspended Venezuela after months of infighting within the bloc.

These difficulties will surely persist in 2017, raising the stakes for Maduro. But the Venezuelan government is far from isolated, and the embattled president can still count on support from abroad. He maintains key relationships within and beyond Latin America, from Bolivia and Cuba to China and Russia. ...

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