The Hot Zone
China's newly announced air defense identification zone over the East China Sea aims to shore up national security
Current Issue
· Table of Contents
· Editor's Desk
· Previous Issues
· Subscribe to Mag
Subscribe Now >>
Expert's View
Market Watch
North American Report
Government Documents
Expat's Eye
Photo Gallery
Reader's Service
Learning with
'Beijing Review'
E-mail us
RSS Feeds
PDF Edition
Reader's Letters
Make Beijing Review your homepage
Hot Links

cheap eyeglasses
Market Avenue

Most Popular
Most Popular
UPDATED: April 27, 2013 NO.18 MAY 2, 2013
After Chavez
Venezuela's leadership transition will see continuation of policies
By Jiang Shixue

The defective economic structure has not only weakened the vigor of Venezuela's economy, but also negatively affected resource allocation based on price signals. Spurred by high oil prices, public spending and wages have continued to rise while a spending boom persists. However, the supply of goods cannot meet the demand, heightening inflationary pressure and making Venezuela the country with the highest inflation rate in Latin America. High inflation, combined with the country's capital control policy, has produced a disastrous effect on the exchange rate of Venezuela's currency. The exchange rate of the bolivar against the U.S. dollar in the black market is four times higher than its official exchange rate.

The nationalization policy of Chavez has established the government's dominant position in the economic field, but it also has scared off foreign investors. The lack of funds has caused the country's oil production to plummet in recent years.

Maduro also faces the problem of how to improve relations with political opponents. After Chavez came into power, the vested interest group of oligarchy rallied strong opposition to his administration. The military coup staged by the opposition in 2002 further increased tensions between the two sides. Meanwhile, Washington viewed Chavez as a thorn in its side. With the support of the U.S. Government, the opposition conspired against the Chavez administration. Chavez then fought back using harsh measures. The fighting severely damaged the political stability of the country, resulting in the emigration of many professionals to foreign countries, which took a heavy toll on the technological innovation of Venezuela. As the mainstay of Venezuela's national economy, the oil industry was unable to increase its output due to a lack of technicians.

Whether Maduro can improve relations with the United States is another question that the international community is concerned about. It is foreseeable that Washington would send some signals for improving relations with Venezuela, but it will not give up its support for the Venezuelan opposition. Maduro may take some measures to ameliorate Venezuelan- U.S. relations, but he is unlikely to abandon the stance of anti-U.S. hegemonism.

Claims by opposition candidate Henrique Capriles that the general election was rigged and the following violent confrontation of the supporters of the two sides showed that their antagonism will not disappear anytime soon. It will continue to threaten the stability of Venezuelan society.

In addition, crime and murder rates in Venezuela are reportedly the highest in Latin America. Maduro needs to address the country's worsening public security problem while Chavez passed down enough political assets to Maduro, but the new Venezuelan president must also meet a host of economic and social challenges left over in the current society ensuring that the living standard of low-income groups will not decline.

Sino-Venezuelan relations

Zhang Ping, then head of the National Development and Reform Commission of China, arrived in Caracas on March 7 as special envoy of the Chinese Government to attend the funeral of Chavez. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua welcomed the Chinese envoy at the airport, a special arrangement that highlighted friendship between China and Venezuela.

Sino-Venezuelan relations developed rapidly following the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1974, especially during the Chavez administration. Since Chavez took office, the two countries have enjoyed frequent high-level exchanges. Bilateral economic and trade cooperation has kept growing. Cultural, scientific and educational exchanges are also rapidly increasing. Both sides have shown mutual understanding and maintained close cooperation in international affairs. The two countries established a strategic partnership in 2001. A high-level mixed committee was also set up to coordinate and map out bilateral cooperation in a variety of fields such as politics, economy and cultural exchanges. So far, the committee has held more than 10 meetings. In December 2004, Venezuela recognized China's full market economy status.

Maduro believes the best way to salute Chavez, who devoted himself to promoting strategic cooperation between China and Venezuela, is to continue to deepen and strengthen the Sino-Venezuelan partnership. The new Venezuelan president recently said his government would send a high-level delegation to visit China.

China, for its part, stays committed to its relationship with Venezuela. At a press conference days after the passing away of Chavez, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said China values its traditional friendship with Venezuela, an important country in Latin America as well as a friendly country to China. "We are ready to work with the Venezuelan Government and people to constantly deepen and push forward the China-Venezuela strategic partnership of common development," she said.

The author is vice president of the Chinese Association for Latin American Studies

Email us at: yanwei@bjreview.com

   Previous   1   2  

Top Story
-Protecting Ocean Rights
-Partners in Defense
-Fighting HIV+'s Stigma
-HIV: Privacy VS. Protection
-Setting the Tone
Most Popular
About BEIJINGREVIEW | About beijingreview.com | Rss Feeds | Contact us | Advertising | Subscribe & Service | Make Beijing Review your homepage
Copyright Beijing Review All right reserved