Who Supports Which Leader in Venezuela? Why Is This Important?

Who Supports Which Leader in Venezuela? Why Is This Important?

China is an increasingly influential investor in Venezuela, taking 240,000 barrels of oil a day from the country, much of it designated as debt repayment. While China’s support is important for Mr. Maduro’s ability to remain in power, it has been conspicuously low-key regarding his struggle with Mr. Guaidó. When asked about China’s policy regarding Venezuela, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said “China is committed to the principle of noninterference in other countries’ internal affairs.”

The relative neutrality of China, at least compared with Russia, may reflect China’s concern that it needs to remain open to all possibilities in Venezuela. If Mr. Guaidó were to prevail, China would need to cultivate a relationship with him that preserves its economic interests.

The global split over Venezuela has left the leader of the 193-member United Nations, António Guterres, in an awkward position. He told reporters on Monday that the United Nations continues to offer its “good offices to the parties to be able at their request to help find a political solution,” but would not participate in any other group’s initiatives to resolve the crisis.

Among other multinational institutions, the Organization of American States was among Mr. Guaidó’s first backers — even though not all of its 35 members agreed. The Inter-American Development Bank, an important source of financing in Latin America, also has recognized him as interim president.

The International Monetary Fund has avoided taking sides, saying it will follow the position of its member states. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Venezuela was a founding member, has said nothing.

It is difficult to know. But in the next few days and weeks, the impact of the United States’ sanctions will begin to ripple through the country. Fuel shortages are expected to start in the countryside and eventually reach the capital, Caracas, further constricting the country’s economy by interfering with people’s ability to work and making food and medicine even harder to obtain.

Mr. Guaidó, calling the situation an emergency, has promised to work with foreign backers and bring international aid into Venezuela. This action would be in direct defiance of Mr. Maduro, who has said the country does not need the help — and could lead to possibly violent confrontations.

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