Will Belarus get back its money after change of power in Venezuela?

Watch the news item starting at 0:59 (in the Belarusian language)

Maduro’s power is hanging on by a thread; so are Minsk’s hopes for multibillion profits. Will the head of Venezuela be able to hold power? What are Belarusian state-owned companies doing in the Latin American country and what will happen next?

According to the Kremlin, The United States is staging a coup in Venezuela.

“As you know, there has been more than one attempt to oust Nicolas Maduro from power, including that of his liquidation,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

On January 23, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself acting president during an opposition rally in Caracas. He was recognised an interim head of the country by almost all states of the continent, including Colombia, Brazil and the United States.

“Nicolas Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power,” US Vice President Mike Pence said. Earlier, spoke with Mr. Guaido by telephone to express the United States’ resolute support for the National Assembly of Venezuela as the only legitimate democratic body in the country.

EU member states share the opinion:

“The European Union fully supports the national assembly as the democratically elected institution whose powers need to be restored and respected,” Maja Kocijancic, Spokesperson for the European External Action Service, said.

Nicolas Maduro restricted those powers one and a half years ago. He appointed members of the so-called Constitutional Assembly and put it over the parliament, where the opposition dominates. The West rejected last year’s presidential elections. Maduro’s economic policy resulted in hyperinflation and dreadful shortage, which was followed by endless protests and a migration crisis.

“The security forces’ actions is a key factor; if they side with the opposition, the issue will be resolved. If not, there are options. Maduro may try to make the opposition leave the streets, as it happened in 2017, but now it would hardly be possible,” Yauhen Krasulin, an expert on non-European civilizations, told Belsat TV.

“The people of Venezuela can handle emerging difficulties on their own without external interference,” the Belarusian Foreign ministry commented on the situation. Since the times of Hugo Chavez, Belarusians have been build houses, extracting oil and working at three factories in Venezuela. However, due to the five-year crisis, the mutual trade has actually dropped to zero. After the change of government, it will not be easy to return the money invested.

“There will be companies from Latin America, North America, Western Europe and China. So, we [Belarusian side] will have to operate there without overprotection,” Krasulin stressed.

Russia may lose much more than Belarus – $20 bn in loans and investments of Rosneft. $ 50 bn were invested in the Venezuelan economy by China. Investing in a dictatorial country is risky, but other dictatorial countries are not against that. Moreover, authoritarian states often deal in weapons using shady or quasi-legal schemes, Belarusian economist Yaraslau Ramanchuk said.

The news about would-be toppling Maduro has caused a 30% climb of the Venezuelan oil company’s share price. This is one of the rare cases in which a coup gives investors hope for economic growth. But the Belarusian state-run companies also keep trying their luck in such countries as Iran, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Crisis in Venezuela: Over dozen protesters killed

Belsat.eu, phot. REUTERS-Carlos Garcia Rawlins