Four axes of Venezuelan foreign policy in 2018
The non-conventional warfare modality that is being developed against Venezuela has turned the international scenario into a strategic battlefield.
In the course of 2018, the Venezuelan government worked on a reconfiguration of the map of international relations that has been fundamental to contain the explicit threat to the sovereignty of the country from the United States, their allied countries and corporations. The most important efforts in this regard can be analyzed from four axes.
Consolidation of a new geometry of power in Latin America and the Caribbean
During April, the US pressure on President Juan Carlos Varela generated a political crisis in relations between Panama and Venezuela. Panama issued sanctions against Venezuelan personalities and companies, but the immediate response of the Venezuelan government immediately affected Panamanian airlines and forced the Central American country to resume dialogue and normalize relations with the Bolivarian Government.
In November, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People’s Commerce Treaty (ALBA-TCP) in Nicaragua was relaunched, where, among other things, the attempts of the United States to resuscitate the Monroe Doctrine were denounced as wel as the rejection of the systematic and interventionist actions of the General Secretary of the OAS and some countries that claim to attack the sovereignty, self-determination and constitutional order of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Before the scandal of the multinational media corporations that take place of that unconventional war, the newly elected president of Mexico Andrés López Obrador reiterated the invitation to President Nicolás Maduro to attend his inauguration, thus initiating a rupture with the self-appointed Group of Lima weakening its role as the current vanguard of the diplomatic attack against Venezuela in the region and so he closes the year announcing to this group that Mexico refuses to break relations with Venezuela this January 10, in recognition of the right to self-determination of the peoples.
Break the fences and the Plan Vuelta la Patria
During 2018 FM Jorge Arreaza and the Venezuelan president made several tours around the world, which counteracted the media attack against the legitimacy of the government. The most important tour undertaken by the Venezuelan Foreign Minister was the so-called South-South Dignity Tour. Arreaza visited several countries of the African continent at the beginning of the year, including Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Angola that are members of OPEC and extended invitations to accompany the Venezuelan presidential elections.
Despite the US claim to delegitimize the electoral process by which Nicolas Maduro was re-elected as president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the process received the immediate support of the ALBA-TCP and other countries immediately expressed their appreciation. Lebanon, Indonesia, Palestine, Gabon, Belarus among the first, but of great importance was the immediate recognition of Russia, the Islamic Republic of Iran and of course the People’s Republic of China, who also called on the opposition to recognize the results.
Also, since last August, Venezuela launched the Plan Vuelta a la Patria, created by President Nicolás Maduro to establish an air and land bridge for the voluntary return of those who had emigrated and were in a vulnerable situation. In four months, this plan has reached more than 10,000 returnees from eight countries (512 from Colombia) and has established itself as one of the strongest achievements of Venezuelan foreign policy by weakening one of the most spread opinion matrices in the media war against Venezuela, according to which those who emigrate do so fleeing the political regime, and with which it was intended to sustain a humanitarian intervention that would violate the sovereignty of the country.
Geopolitics to evade the economic blockade
The policy of economic sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration on Venezuela and other countries, among which are Syria, Iran and Russia, as well as the hardening the trade relations with China, have become an incentive for the search for geopolitical alternatives and financing
In this context, President Nicolás Maduro visited the People’s Republic of China in September of this year, in which he signed 28 agreements with the Asian giant in the financial, technological, mining, as well as food and medicine matters. Regarding on the agreements signed between China and Venezuela during this important meeting, these could imply that in the short term China will replace the United States as the main buyer of Venezuelan oil.
Also, at the beginning of the year a meeting was held in Tehran in the framework of the XVIII Congregation of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, in which the alliances in different areas such as the agricultural, oil and scientific-technical subjects were strengthened, as well as in the health and housing areas.
Two more trips that the president made this year and were of vital importance to break with the economic siege were those made in July to Turkey, for the inauguration of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and in December to Russia, just after the G20 meeting.
With Erdogan, Venezuela has created bilateral alliances in the area of mutual commercial and financial cooperation, where the sale and refining of gold is the key for Venezuela to avoid US sanctions. It is worth noting that close to 100 entrepreneurs from Turkey expressed their intention to invest in Venezuela in the areas of health, livestock, energy and transport. Regarding on the latter, Turkish Airlines, one of Turkey’s main airlines, said it expects to establish its operations base in Venezuela to offer services in Latin America and the Caribbean. The importance of this visit was the reciprocity of the Turkish president who, at the end of the year traveled to Venezuela and ratified the agreements made in Istanbul.
Finally, the visit of the Venezuelan president to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, just after the G20 to ratify trade and military agreements, exalted the world press that still seems surprised by the skillful maneuvers with which Venezuela has endured despite the hardening of US sanctions.
Military alliances for the defense of national sovereignty
The threat against Venezuela that has been woven this year from the United States and its allied countries in the region, such as Colombia, has generated a reasonable concern of the Venezuelan government for military preparation for the defense of sovereignty, which is why they have concrete several military agreements, visits and joint exercises with friendly countries.
Among the actions carried out this year in this area are a combined operation between China and Venezuela that included the visit of the Chinese Navy hospital ship for several days to the Venezuelan port, where different exercises were developed between the two forces, and the military exercises with Russia that closed the year with a joint air maneuver that involved the arrival in Caracas of four Russian Air Force aircraft: the supersonic heavy bomber Túpolev TU-160, the strategic transport aircraft Antonov AN-124 and the Ilyushin reactor IL- 62. Both actions set off the alarms of the United States and its regional allies, given the geopolitical importance of these operations and the dissuasive role they have to contain direct intervention plans against Venezuela.