China: Don't sanction our friends in Venezuela

We may have gotten China to reluctantly go along with some sanctions on North Korea, but it seems we’ll have a tougher road ahead of us when it comes to Venezuela. President Trump announced another series of U.S. sanctions on Nicolas Maduro’s regime on Friday, prompting an unexpected rebuttal coming from the Chinese. (Reuters)

Venezuela’s close ally China said on Monday that history shows external interference and unilateral sanctions only make things more complex and will not help resolve problems, after the United States imposed new sanctions on Venezuela.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order that prohibits dealings in new debt from the Venezuelan government or its state oil company on Friday in an effort to halt financing that the White House said fuels President Nicolas Maduro’s “dictatorship”.

Maduro, who has frequently blamed the United States for waging an “economic war” on Venezuela, said the United States was seeking to force Venezuela to default — but he said it would not succeed.

Before going any further, would somebody at Reuters care to drop me a note and explain why you felt it necessary to put dictatorship in scare quotes? The guy has disbanded the legislature, replaced it with a group of hand picked sycophants who make up the rules as he thinks of them, done essentially the same thing to the Supreme Court, imprisoned the political opposition, shut down the free media and dispatched armed militias into the streets to suppress his starving people. What about that doesn’t, in your mind, qualify as a dictatorship?

Returning to the original story, this China situation makes the prospects for a return to normality in Venezuela even more dim. When the threat facing the world comes in the form of possible nuclear war, China can see their way to get onboard. But when the threat is another western country falling further into socialism, or more correctly, totalitarianism, why would China want to stop that? It’s not a bug. It’s a feature!

China’s rhetoric about unilateral sanctions isn’t entirely off base because they’re talking about sanctions which the United States imposes on their own. Those can indeed be ineffective if other countries are simply trading with Maduro as usual. And China clearly plans to do just that, particularly since they like to keep a ready supply of Venezuela’s oil (at least the fraction they’re able to process these days) on tap. In exchange, there’s no telling what sort of resources the Chinese might be willing to offer Maduro.

If an armed revolt comes I somehow doubt China would go so far as to interfere militarily. But their support in the form of cash and resources will allow Maduro to cling to power for much longer than he would have been able to if we had everyone else in the world isolating him. This is yet another bad development for the people of Venezuela.

David Strom 6:41 PM on September 26, 2022