Desperate Venezuelans are destroying Chinese-owned businesses in Venezuela to protest the Communist country’s economic dominance over them, The New York Times reported Sunday.
“The Chinese won’t sell to us,” a Venezuelan cab driver told The New York Times, justifying why an angry mob looted and demolished a Chinese bodega. “So we burn their stores instead,” the cabbie said.
Venezuela depends heavily on Chinese credit in exchange for oil. Venezuela is a member of the global oil organization known as OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. The socialist country has 24.9 percent of the world’s proven crude oil reserves, the most out of any member country, yet still struggles.
Many Venezuelans have resorted to dumpster diving so that they can feed themselves. While others have gone to even greater extremes like raiding a truck-full of live chickens on a highway just to eat.
The Chinese government is currently in the process of renegotiating the payment structure for the billions in loans it gave to the Venezuelan government. Venezuela has received $65 billion worth of loans since 2005 from China, according to The Financial Times. Payment of the loans is largely dependent on high oil prices — but prices have been low since 2014.
Chinese officials unofficially negotiated with conservative opposition politicians due to concerns over the potential collapse of the Venezuelan government, which is run by former bus driver and political protege of the late Hugo Chavez, President Nicolas Maduro. Conservative lawmakers won control of the National Assembly, the equivalent of Congress, in December 2015 elections, dividing the government and partially prompting the dual political and economic crisis. Maduro has repeatedly refused to recognize the legitimacy of opposition politicians.
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