Intervention in Venezuela? It started a long time ago
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The intervention by Russia, China and the United States may not be military yet, but it has been operating for months and leaving victims
At this moment, China and Russia, on one hand, and the United States on the other, are sparking in the diplomatic arena considering the repercussions of foreign military intervention in Venezuela, but beyond the microphones, the possibility of such a scenario it seems still distant.
Leer en español: ¿Intervención en Venezuela? Hace mucho empezó
However, in the current international context, where international law, the nuclear option, and economic interdependence discourage the use of the military arm, war is waged by other means. Venezuela has been for years the coliseum where the great powers measure forces to install regimes favorable to their strategic objectives, what happens is that the intervention so far has been diplomatic, covert and, above all, economic and commercial.
A recent shock in banking
Before the arrest of Roberto Marrero, director of the office of opposition leader Juan Guaidó in March, the United States imposed new sanctions on the Development Bank of Venezuela (Bandes). It happens that this bank, and its subsidiaries in Uruguay and Bolivia, have received billions from the Chinese Development Bank, in exchange for oil.
Now the United States is hindering the use of funds of Chinese origin, frustrating the pretensions of influence from Beijing and hindering their investment in profitable state enterprises. If it does not have funds for investment, Venezuela will remain unable to assume its debt with China, which has grown to astronomical figures.
Read also: Sanctions force Venezuela to import crude for the first time in 5 years
This is how the war in Venezuela is waged. The Venezuelan bank ends up being only the channel that the United States obstructs to complicate the Chinese interests in the region. In the same way, but in the opposite direction, China offers monumental loans to thwart US efforts to destabilize a rival regime that has done everything possible to limit its influence in Latin America.
Russia is another story
Russia is a tremendous military ally, if you do not believe it, just ask Bashar Al Assad in Syria, which is still in power, against all odds, thanks to Russian intervention. But it is not a great economic ally, as China is. The Russian economy is considerably smaller than that of Brazil, and according to United Nations data, it is barely larger than that of Australia.
This, however, has not prevented Russia from investing multimillion-dollar sums in Venezuela. Through its state oil company Rosneft, they acquired an important part of the PDVSA distributor, Citgo, when it was in trouble due to unpaid debts to US courts. Another example of a war that has already begun.
In total, according to Forbes, the known investment of Russia in Venezuela is around $ 17,000 million dollars.
The protection of this investment, and of the Allied regime in Venezuela, is advanced by means of military deterrence. It should come as no surprise that Russian military aircraft landed in Venezuela after a high-level meeting in Rome, where the United States did not give in to its claims to depose Nicolás Maduro.
A war with victims
While none of the powers has fired a single shot on Venezuelan soil, because they have not even mobilized troops, the 'war by other means' that has been going on for months, if not years, on Venezuelan soil, has also brought victims.
US sanctions have suffocated the Venezuelan markets, and although they have been mostly directed to state agencies in order to put pressure on the regime, those who pay the price are the citizens of Venezuela. In the face of the commercial siege, goods are scarce and prices rise, hunger is stimulated.
Chinese loans have done little to solve the crisis, and in many cases, like the one that was exposed by Reuters, involving the Chinese company CAMC Engineering, they are mediated by bribes and opaque contracting that are often resolved in favor of the private or of the Chinese State.
Finally, Russia's contributions seem to be concentrated at the governmental level and its military support contributes to the escalation of the conflict, to the perception of insecurity in the Latin American region and guarantees the continued isolation of Venezuela.
This has been the intervention in Venezuela. Those who debate the possibility of military intervention are not wrong in giving it importance, it is a real risk, something that has happened in this and other latitudes on repeated occasions. But they should also avoid myopia, understand that the intervention in Venezuela has already begun, it has already taken months and millions of victims.
LatinAmerican Post | Editorial Team
Translated from "¿Intervención en Venezuela? Hace mucho empezó"