Venezuela: The Collapse of a Petrostate, Part II

It is not a secret to the world that Venezuela is going through an economic and humanitarian crisis that has caused an institutional and social breakdown in the country. As I pointed out in the first part of this article weeks ago, the main culprit of this tragedy that affects millions are the corrupt economic and social policies carried out by the governments of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro.

“Chavismo” has used the resources of the State to its political interests for 20 years, regardless of the viability or the real impact on the population that their decisions have. Venezuela has been in economic recession since 2013 and its GDP has fallen more than 60% since then. Likewise, to boost their ideology and political plan, it increased the national debt from 38 billion dollars to more than 200 billion. The main creditors of Venezuelan debt are China and Russia, which are also the main international political allies that the government still has.  

From the ideological perspective that Chavism maintains, known as Socialism of the 21st Century, capitalism is a system that allows for the domination of some countries, the so-called first world, over the rest of the countries, especially Latin America and Africa. For Venezuela and other states to succeed in development, the capitalist system must be eliminated.

In this sense and based on this “anti-capitalist” position, the foreign policy of Venezuela during the mandate of Hugo Chávez and Nicolas Maduro has been raised as rejecting the foreign policy and world hegemony of the United States of America, the greatest promoter of liberal capitalism (at least up until the Trump era), and in turn advocating a multipolar world, so that Venezuela can take its position as a leading actor in Latin America and the Caribbean, thus displacing American influence in the region.

At least up until the Trump era, the United States has been the world’s strongest promoter of liberal capitalism—the exact opposite to Chavez’s socialism.

For such purposes, Venezuela implemented various strategic actions in its relations with other states. First, it used the exorbitant resources from the exploitation of oil to gain, through diplomacy, a growing influence among Caribbean and Latin American countries, creating at the same time different regional and international institutions and mechanisms, parallel to those through which the United States maintains a hegemonic role.

Likewise, Venezuela consolidated important diplomatic, strategic, economic, military and commercial alliances with other states at the end of its political ideological discourse, among which Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua, Honduras and Bolivia stand out in the Latin American region and China, Russia and Belarus in the commercial and military field. Special mention should be made of the link with the Cuban government of Castro since 2004.

With regard to China and Russia, Venezuela has sought to strengthen links that allow for a multipolar world, precisely with the support of two great enemies of the United States. Thus, a large number of economic and military agreements have been signed with both world powers.

However, in recent months this alliance has suffered a sharp decline. Venezuela has increasing difficulties in paying the foreign debt and its internal crisis has forced the Caribbean country to decrease its imports.

The situation has reached such a point that in the face of Donald Trump's latest sanctions against the “regimen chavista”, China and Russia have not taken any important action to support Venezuela. Given the inability to borrow more, the constant violation of human rights and the democratic breakdown, the government of Nicolas Maduro is more isolated than ever in the international system.