There’s something hilariously appropriate about this: the country that we found can’t get its citizens enough washing powder, couldn’t martial its military to give a decent rendition of the Chinese national anthem when the Chinese President was in town. China’s social media commentariat was not happy: “China should express vehement condemnation to Venezuelan government” one said. “I admire our leader and officials for being able to maintain their composures,” said another. That’s fair, I loled.
President Xi Jinping has been making a whistle stop tour of the Americas. He went to he BRICs summit in Brazil, where he agreed to contribute to a new international development bank, intended as a counterbalance of the neo-liberal development values of the World Bank. Then he headed on to see some of the US’s loudest critics in the region, meeting with the Venezuelans, and popping over for a cup of tea with Fidel Castro.
In Venezuela Xi signed billions of dollars of loans which Venezuela is to pay back through oil. It’s a chance for Venezuela to keep its failing economic model in motion for a little longer, and for China to extend its sphere of influence in Latin America (which is, incidentally, a new concern of Venezuela’s fierce protestors).