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Venezuela: Why countries like Russia, China and Turkey are backing Nicolas Maduro


Caracas, Jan 30: If crises in South Asia, West Asia and Ukraine were not enough for the new Cold War, Venezuela has opened up a new theatre for the battle to unfold - this time in the Western Hemisphere.

After the US and a number of other western and Latin American nations backed Opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's new leader and upped the ante against incumbent Nicolas Maduro, countries like Russia, China and Turkey threw their weights behind Maduro who had succeeded Venezuela's iconic leader Hugo Chavez after his death in 2013.

Venezuela: Why countries like Russia, China and Turkey are backing Nicolas Maduro

The polarisation over Venezuela is not unexpected for the crisis in the Latin American state has given states like Russia, China and Turkey to take on the US in its own backyard as a counter to Washington's moves in places like Ukraine, Asia-Pacific and Syria. Maduro, too, has used the opportunity to vow for deeper relations with these countries that have backed him.

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The similarity between Maduro's personalised style of ruling like his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan have made the bonding even stronger.

Also, Maduro would depend on Russia and China to save him from any form of punitive action initiated by the United Nations by applying their veto powers.

From the perspectives of Russia, China and Turkey, however, how does backing Maduro help them?

Why is Russia backing Maduro

There is of course the ideological affinity between the two nations with socialist background.

Russia had a close friendship with Chavez, who was a symbol of anti-Americanism in the Western Hemisphere and Caracas was one of the few nations that had recognised Georgia's breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Otessia as independent, similar to Russia.

Also in matters related to Syria and Ukraine, Venezuela has backed Russia's stance. Also, Russian state-run oil firm Rosneft has a vested interest in the Maduo government. Venezuela is an important oil-producing country and member of the OPEC group.

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In 2017, Russia also agreed to restructure billions of debt payments that Venezuela owes with an aim of maintaining its influence over the Latin American country located in the US's neighbourhood.

Last month, Russian bombers that have the capacity to deliver nuclear weapons also flew to Venezuela to take part in joint exercises.

Why is China backing Maduro

China is a key creditor for Venezuela, said a CNN report citing experts. The country extended several loans to Venezuela while its companies made huge investments, as per American reports and since Venezuela has not been able to repay the loans as desired, Maduro's ouster could reduce the possibilities of China recovering the loan amounts even more.

A new leadership is expected to deal more with the economic and humanitarian crisis that Venezuela has found itself in instead of repaying foreign loans.

Why is Turkey backing Maduro

Since the strongmen of both countries have survived coup attempts, it has made their own relations close.

President Erdogan, who of late has expressed frustration over the US's procrastination over pulling out from Syria, considers Maduro as a victim of West's 'unfair games' and since he himself survived a coup attempt in 2016, there is more reason for Erdogan to identify his position with his Venezuelan counterpart.

The two countries also have their trade relations but it is the politics that is counted as the most important glue in their relationship.

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