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China’s already coming back as Venezuela is setting out

By Veneconomy

04.03.05 | This week the Minister of the People’s Economy, Elías Juau, and the Minister of Food, José Rafael Oropeza, announced that China’s development model for agriculture would be applied in Venezuela. At best, this statement demonstrates a degree of naivety and a serious lack of knowledge of the situation in the Republic of China on the part of the two ministers. China does not offer Venezuela a valid alternative for the future development of any area of the economy, and certainly not the agroindustry. Adopting this option would merely be “changing horses in midstream.” By wishing to replace the U.S. development model for that of Beijing, the Chávez administration is taking Venezuela down a blind alley, in terms of its economic development.

While it is true that China is interested in establishing alliances not only with Venezuela but also with the rest of South America, its true purpose is to find new sources of raw materials to promote its own national development agenda.

As far as Beijing is concerned, Venezuela is just another supplier of oil and other raw materials and, above all, a market for placing its mass consumer products. Its priorities do not include technology transfer. The United States has brought ten times more technology in 50 years than the Chinese could bring in the next ten.

Nor is China thinking of confronting the United States to take away its traditional trading partners in the region. VenEconomy believes that there are some blind spots in the assumptions being made by the Venezuelan government when it comes to the benefits of closer integration with China.

First of all, China will invest in the region in infrastructure works in the coming years, but the investment model will be nothing like the direct disbursements of capital made by the British railroad companies in the 19th century.

Secondly, the commodity export development model, which has not produced positive sustainable results for countries, will be consolidated. Instead of coming up with a new, better alternative to “neoliberalism,” Chávez will take the country back to the commodity-based models of the 70s.

Thirdly, the levels of corruption in China are as high as in Latin America. Closer relations between China and Venezuela will probably lead to more corruption here. The elites (established and emerging) will become much richer to the detriment of the destitute, who will be plunged into even greater poverty.

The only explanation for this bewitchment of Chávez and his acolytes with China, apart from putting distance between Venezuela and the Bush administration, is their desire to move ahead with a model of social control. This is an obsolete model that resulted in so much backwardness in China, so much so that it was forced to open up its economy to the market in order to avoid a social implosion more than 20 years ago.

Could it be that the Bolivarians have not noticed that China has been setting its economy on the path towards capitalism for the past 25 years?

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