The official press in Venezuela is full of details on the state visit of Chinese leader Xi Jinping. As part of his Caracas tour, agreements will be signed, swords will be passed around, sashes will be worn, tombs will be visited, oil will be traded, and a full-blown one-directional slobber-fest will take place. But the only thing, the only number that matters … is a “4.”
No, not the “4” in the sign above Chávez’s tomb. Rather, it’s the $4 billion China has allegedly pledged to contribute to the China-Venezuela fund.
With parliamentary elections coming next year and the economy increasingly under stress, the Venezuelan state needs fresh funds. Thankfully, the Chinese are here ready to provide it, presumably in exchange for future shipments of oil they will surely get with a heavy discount off the market price.
Few details will emerge, but really, that is all this visit is about.