For the past five years, Venezuela has suffered through persistent political and economic crises that have led to chronic shortages of food, fuel, electricity and running water. More than 5 million people have fled, triggering a refugee crisis in neighboring countries. China is currently Venezuela’s richest and most powerful international partner and could play a greater role than any other external actor in helping to stabilize Venezuela. But to date, Beijing has remained largely on the sidelines regarding humanitarian relief and silent on the broader political crisis.
China-Venezuela relations were strong at the outset of the 21st Century, but there are indications that China may be growing dissatisfied with the status quo. These include failed infrastructure projects, labor disputes, the challenges of navigating oil embargos and, most importantly, Venezuela’s inability to repay billions of dollars in loans from China. These economic interests will most likely be an important consideration as Beijing navigates its possible involvement in resolving the crisis.
On July 22, USIP hosted a discussion on the nature of the China-Venezuela relationship, the role China could realistically play in support of a negotiated political settlement and how Washington and Beijing may be able to find common ground on key issues.
Continue the conversation on Twitter using #ChinaVenezuelaUSIP.
Keith Mines, opening remarks
Director, Latin America Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace
Adriana Erthal Abdenur,
Executive Director, Plataforma CIPÓ (Brazil)
Deputy, Primero Justicia, National Assembly of Venezuela
Research Fellow, Leiden University
Researcher, China-Latin America Issues, Institute for International and Area Studies, Tsinghua University
Senior Expert, Greater Horn of Africa, U.S. Institute of Peace
Amb. Thomas A. Shannon Jr., closing remarks
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, 2016-2018
Henry Tugendhat, moderator
Senior Policy Analyst, China, U.S. Institute of Peace