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Venezuela’s Maduro to visit Russia in October

Venezuela’s Maduro to visit Russia in October

Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s embattled President, faced with threats and sanctions from the US (in which Canada has now joined) and savage criticism from US President Trump, is intending to travel to Moscow in early October to attend Russia’s Energy Week.

It is a certainty that during his visit to Moscow Maduro will meet with top Russian officials, including almost certainly President Putin himself.

A little noticed fact is that over the last few months, as the economic crisis in Venezuela has deepened, Russia has quietly emerged as Venezuela’s major foreign investor and financial backer, with Russia’s state oil company Rosneft positioning itself to become a major investor in Venezuela’s oil industry.

Rosneft’s investments in Venezuela, though providing Venezuela with desperately needed foreign exchange, are not uncontroversial both in Venezuela and Russia.

Inevitably there have been complaints in Venezuela and elsewhere that Rosneft is taking advantage of Venezuela’s economic crisis to achieve a preponderant position in Venezuela’s oil industry – potentially one of the biggest in the world – whilst in Russia, given the unstable political situation in Venezuela and the certainty that any oil concessions granted to Rosneft will be set aside if the Venezuelan opposition comes to power, there have been questions about the long term wisdom of Rosneft’s investments.

Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s powerful CEO, however remains personally committed to Venezuela, whilst for Maduro and his embattled government financial and technical support from Russia and Rosneft, including to keep the oil industry going – which by some accounts is otherwise heading towards breakdown – is essential if a total economic and political collapse in Venezuela is to be avoided.

Maduro’s trip to Moscow in October is obviously intended to put a seal on the relationship.

At this point I would add a personal view, which is that supporters of Maduro’s government both within Venezuela and elsewhere consistently underestimate the extent to which Venezuela’s current economic crisis has been caused by the government’s fundamental errors of economic management.  By contrast there is far too much emphasis on Venezuela’s alleged external economic destabilisation.  Quite apart from the fact that before the Trump administration’s latest sanctions there was actually scant evidence of this external destabilisation, in my opinion this has had the bad effect of providing the Venezuelan government with an alibi, enabling it to excuse itself for its fundamental economic and political mistakes.

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The result is that those mistakes – such as the government’s ruinous insistence on using its scant foreign currency resources to pay Venezuela’s external debt on time, instead of using these resources to pay for essential imports whilst seeking a restructuring – have been perpetuated.

These mistakes the government has been making have a variety of causes, but not the least of them is the absence of properly trained and experienced technocrats within the government, with the result that economic policy has been made emotionally on the hoof in an amateur way, often with disastrous consequences.

Russia by contrast has an abundance of highly qualified technocrats.  If Russia really wants to help Venezuela out of its crisis – which given the size of Rosneft’s planned investments in Venezuela it should do – arguably the single most useful thing it could do is provide Venezuela with the technical advice and support it desperately needs in order to stabilise its economy.

The fact that Venezuela has now apparently asked Moscow for help to achieve a restructuring of its debt may be a sign that this is finally happening.  This – as well as Rosneft’s investments in Venezuela’s oil industry – will no doubt be the subject of Maduro’s talks with the Russians in Moscow.

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seby
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seby

Looks like the hegemon is decaying quickly from a multipolar order.

ecald12
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ecald12

Excellent, and and correct, analysis in my humble opinion. Economic mismanagement has been pervasive, and is a major factor in Venezuela’s current economic quagmire. This situation goes back to the Chavez days. Also to be added is that rife corruption and nepotism, inherited as well from Chavez, is a problem which must be tackled if popular rule is to receive a solid footing.

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal
Voltaire
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Voltaire

If the United States provides lethal weapons to Ukraine…

Russia should position nuclear armed submarines in Cuban and Venezuelan and Iranian territorial waters…

And arm the Taliban to kill as many US troops as possible as quickly as possible…

Guy
Member
Guy

I don’t agree with Alexander on this one.The Americans have been destabilizing Venezuela ever since the formation of the socialist party under Chavez and the oil resources were transferred to the state .The US administration has done this through their proxy state of Columbia and also through their big corporate ownership of the food industry by holding back food shipments in order to starve the citizens thus have them consider the alternative politicians for a win in the next election . Venezuela is a democratic country for those that do not know but it socialist ,and ideology that the West,especially… Read more »

Wayne Blow
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Wayne Blow

Yes to my shame as well, Trudeau needs a good kick in the “nuts” if he actually has any !!!!!!??

scanfish
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scanfish

That’s right. Mercouris is totally wrong on that point. Chavez and later Maduro’s main opponent has been Henrique Capriles, whose Justice Party is sponsored mostly by the NED and USAID, both CIA fronts, plus Soros’ OSF and US mega-corporations. The fact that Capriles is Jewish doesn’t hurt especially where it matters in having influential US zionists and neocons in your corner. Mercouris writes well but seems to have a blind spot for the not so obvious submarine political influence of sinister US forces and their imperialist agenda. In Venezuela, the US wants to revert to US control of its oil… Read more »

Guy
Member
Guy

The world has gone a bit crazy hasn’t it.Lets hope that some level of sanity returns to this planet , the propaganda is overwhelming .
Cheers.

scanfish
Guest
scanfish

The darkest hour is always before dawn. The sane of this world will not only overcome the selfish greed that seems to overwhelm the planet, but they will prosper. Cheers.

Constantine
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Constantine

Mistakes, even gross ones, may have been committed by the Venezuelan government and Maduro is no Chavez. But Mercouris is deeply at fault here in underestimating himself the extent of subterfuge in the country by the US government and local compradores. Much of that has been documented and it beggars belief that the obsessively interventionist neoliberal establishment in the US would tolerate an anti-US American, socialist government in Latin America that sits on top of huge oil reserves. I would definitely add that Venezuela is one of the few countries that have recognized the Crimean referendum and the unification with… Read more »

Barry Graham
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Barry Graham

I thought the Duran had informed people, but now it is clear that they do not.

Tommy Jensen
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Tommy Jensen

Has Maduro got permission from Obama to visit Putin? Maybe, maybe not.

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