Venezuela and China: Independency and Dependency in the Context of Interdependent Hegemony


  • Óscar García Agustín



In a world order without a sole hegemon, the dialectic relationship between the main global players and emerging powers enables nation-states to strategically favor their national interests as well as mutually beneficial alliances, whilst the multipolar world becomes strengthened. This article draws on this context of 'interdependent hegemony' to explore the existing relationship between Venezuela, as a swing state, and China, as one of the Big Three global powers. Particularly, I focus on Venezuelan efforts to develop, at the domestic and regional level, a counterhegemonic political project against the US and how China is considered a valuable ally to acquire more independence. However, this situation of interdependence can paradoxically lead to a new kind of dependence, in this case on China. To analyze these relations, I propose a conceptual framework consisting of three dimensions: 1) the international positioning towards other Northern and Southern countries and whether the relationship is conceived in terms of conflict or cooperation; 2) the economic model and how it conditions the relationship between countries and whether relationships or dependence are generated; and 3) the development of a political and economic model which can inspire or be followed by other countries. Although China's influence and increasing power in Venezuela is unquestionable in economic terms, the Venezuelan government uses its agreements with China strategically to legitimate its policies, in the name of a South-socialist alternative, and to reaffirm its international positioning.






Research Article