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To Reduce Dependency on the U.S., Venezuela Cultivates China

Monday, May 12, 2014

Since the 1998 election of former President Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan government has sought to bolster its state sovereignty and reduce its dependence on the U.S. These efforts have involved, among other strategies, strengthening relations with regional allies such as Cuba and Bolivia, shoring up new regional institutions such as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and cracking down on domestic nongovernmental organizations that rely upon U.S. funding for survival.

As a petro-state, however, Venezuela remains heavily reliant upon its oil industry for revenues. If Venezuela is to ever truly reduce dependence on the U.S., it must diversify its trading clientele. While it has enhanced relations with a number of countries outside of Latin America, including Belarus, Iran and Russia, China has emerged as the most prominent contemporary actor in Venezuela. And after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s recent visit to Venezuela, China is now poised to replace the U.S. as Venezuela’s largest oil consumer. ...

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