Elections in Venezuela: what threatens Russia’s defeat of Nicolas Maduro in the presidential election
In recent years, Russia has become a creditor, a supplier of weapons and investor in the oil and gas sector Latin American countries.
The national electoral Council of Venezuela has appointed the presidential elections on April 22. For Russia, this country became the main political and economic partner in Latin America. The Russian government and Russian companies in recent years, Caracas has issued loans and advances to many billions of dollars. Rosneft and Gazprom were the main partners of Venezuelans in the exploration and development of oil fields. Only with “Rosneft” in Venezuela we have created five joint ventures. Caracas actively buys the Russian arms. But all this Russian-Venezuelan cooperation, as some experts think, may go down in history, if on April 22 the opposition candidate wins.
The chances of such a scenario is. Maduro became President of Venezuela in April 2013, succeeding his more charismatic predecessor, Hugo Chavez. In early 2014, the country began the opposition protests that led to dozens of deaths. The culprit of the EU and the US called the Maduro regime.
In 2015, elections to the National Assembly (Parliament) of Venezuela, on which the Alliance of supporters of Maduro “Great Patriotic pole” with a crash has lost to the opposition party coalition the “Roundtable of democratic unity” (55 vs 109).
The opposition had the opportunity to block projects Maduro, which led to a direct confrontation between President and Parliament in 2016.
The following year, Nicolas Maduro figured out how to regain power: 30 March 2017, the country’s Supreme court decided to take over the functions of Parliament to give the President the ability to make decisions and bypass the National Assembly. And finally to infuriate opponents of the President, the court has deprived one of the leaders of the opposition, Henrique Capriles, the right to hold public office for a period of 15 years. Followed by a new wave of protests, which in April resulted in 26 casualties.
Another opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, is under house arrest. Another opponent of Maduro, a former mayor of Caracas Antonio ledezma, fled in November 2017 in Spain.
And if all was limited only to political crisis. During the reign of Maduro, Venezuela has experienced economic collapse. The country has a national currency — the Bolivar. The national rate established by the state and is now 10 bolivars for one US dollar. But virtually all currency exchange to occur on the black market.
The country has a resource DolarToday, which indicates the current real exchange rate: 236 thousand bolivars per one US dollar on February 8, 2018. For comparison, in June 2017 one dollar was sold for eight thousand bolivars. In addition to the financial problems in the country recent years and the shortage of goods, including Essentials.
The situation in Venezuela is very complex. Inflation — 4000 percent votes, the country was split in two. If Maduro loses the election, the opposition candidate who will take his place, will completely reset the political course of the country. In the foreign policy will be directed to the North American market. In the same direction will look and in search of partners for economic convergence.Michael Belatacept on Latin America, researcher, Russian state humanitarian University
According to some experts, Russia is rebooting does not promise anything good. During the years of cooperation with Hugo Chavez, and then with his successor Nicolas Maduro, our countries have managed to build close economic ties that have suffered from the abrupt change of course Caracas.
The Deputy Chairman of the Duma Committee on international Affairs Alexei chepa believes that the main interested party of the change of power in Caracas is USA is the main consumer of Venezuelan oil.
Recent years, Venezuela was Russia friendly. We have invested a lot in the economy of this country, its oil and gas sector. But it is not like the United States. Their interest is to put at the head of a loyal person, and we all know the ways in which they achieve this. So, if the country will head close to the Washington politician, for us it will create certain problems.Alex Cepazine of the state Duma Committee on international Affairs
But the difficulty is where to arise. For years, Venezuela remains one of the main buyers of Russian weapons. Only in 2009-2014 Russia issued Caracas 6.2 billion dollars for military purchases. In addition, the loans were given and for the supply of food. As of November 2017 Moscow was one of the main creditors of Venezuela — eight billion dollars in debt.
On the website of “Rosneft” stated that the company has interests in five jointly with Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA projects: “Petromonagas” (share of 16.67%), “Petroperu” (40%), “Boqueron” (26,67%), “Petroliana” (32%), “Petrofactory” (40%). In August 2017, it became known that Rosneft PDVSA paid six billion dollars as advance payment for future oil supplies. And in December 2017 Venezuela has agreed to give “Rosneft” the licence for the gas field, Patio and Mejillones.
Present in Venezuela and Gazprom, which through its controlled company Gazprom Latin America B. V. is engaged in exploration, and in October 2017, together with “Rosneft” has received a proposal to engage in hydrocarbon projects on the continental shelf of the country.
The oil industry of Venezuela is, probably, the main economic interest for Russia in this country. According to the report BP Statistical Review for the year 2016, that is in Venezuela the largest proven oil reserves of 47 billion tons. For comparison, the volume of Russian oil reserves in the same report are estimated at 15 billion tons. .
Political analyst Sergei Markov said that in Venezuela, in principle, difficult situation. If Maduro loses, problems can arise with the Russian projects in Venezuela. If I win, the West would not recognize the election and to start to put pressure on Russia with promises of new sanctions for non-cooperation with the illegitimate regime.
But I still think the obligation of Venezuela to Russia will be performed.Sergei Markov, a political analyst
On the one hand, Moscow received from Caracas actually exclusive access to large oil fields. On the other hand, as noted by some experts in Venezuela have to deal with adventurist regime. In the end, the threat of non-repayment of loans and investment can await Russia in any case: will win the election Maduro, who made the country insolvent, or a candidate from the opposition, which is configured to restore good relations with the United States.
In these respects we have become hostages. We constantly have to make loans, the prepayment for oil. But the situation is getting worse — Caracas goes to a sovereign default, while simultaneously discussing the strange idea of introducing a national currency. We need to think about the maneuver, which will save our investment in Venezuela.Nikita Maslennikova