As Washington is trying to build an economic wall around Venezuela, President Nicolás Maduro continues to dig tunnels. On Thursday,…
As Washington is trying to build an economic wall around Venezuela, President Nicolás Maduro continues to dig tunnels.
On Thursday, Maduro said Russia had agreed to invest more than $ 5 billion to boost Venezuelan oil production and another $ 1 billion in mining – primarily for gold.
Following the meeting with President Vladimir Putin this week, Maduro said that the Russian government and the private sector would also invest in Venezuela’s diamond sector, acquire new satellite technology and provide about 600 tonnes of wheat in 201
9. In addition, Russia will continue to deliver and maintain Venezuela’s military arsenal.
Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves and is believed to be one of the world’s largest gold reserves, but it has become exhausted in an economic crisis that has led to food and medicine shortage and migration of more than three million people in recent years.
But the message was greeted with skepticism by some. Venezuela already owes Russia an estimated $ 6 billion in overdue loans, and it is doubtful that it would be willing to double its bad venture.
David Morán, a Venezuelan analyst and former finance minister, said the government often makes grandiose statements that do not cost much. And Maduro never said what Venezuela could offer in return for the investments.
“What Maduro says is irrelevant, what is relevant is what he did not say,” explains Morán.
“Maduro is trapped”, of Venezuela’s assembly debt to his foreign allies, he added. “[Maduro] also makes changes in the economy or the people will abandon him. Nobody will fund communism in this day and age. Not Russia, not China and not Turkey.”
The message comes as Washington has used a combination of targeted and systemic sanctions to prevent Venezuela’s economy. Last month, the White House banned American residents and citizens from dealing with Venezuela’s “corrupt” gold industry – a move that could be seen as a way to disturb trade between Venezuela and Turkey.
With regard to reporters in Moscow, Maduro called the sanctions “Illegal from public health point of view.”
He also suggested that Washington’s attitude force Venezuela and other nations to fake a new road and build a “new world”.  As part of the new world, Maduro said Venezuela would continue to reduce its dependence on the dollar. In particular, Maduro said that Venezuela would gradually accept the digital currency Petro as a means of payment as of next year. Petroen is state-funded and its value is theoretically linked to Venezuela’s oil and mineral reserves, but it has struggled to become relevant.
On Thursday, when the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Venezuela, the two nations joined unspecified gold mining and energy contracts.
The Russian commitments, if they come through, are a major task for Maduro, which is due to begin a new six-year period on January 10th.
More than three dozen nations, including the United States, have said they will not recognize Maduro as a legitimate president in his new term. They say the elections in May were inadequate and committed by fraud. But analysts say that the international condemnation is unlikely to touch the needle, especially if Venezuela continues to receive financial support from allies such as Russia, China and Turkey.
“This visit has made us in an advantageous situation for the struggle for stability, development and prosperity in the coming years,” Maduro said.