The Twitter bio of Nicolas Maduro reads: “President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Son of Chávez. Building the Homeland with revolutionary efficiency.” On September 9, he tweeted in English and Spanish:
42 years ago, the Great Chinese revolutionary, Mao Tse Tung, died. A communist leader and the first president of the People’s Republic; his government dignified the people of the countryside. Mao gave us a legacy of an anti-imperialist struggle along with the working class. We shall prevail!
Today, Bloomberg reports that China has agreed “to extend a $5 billion credit line to cash-strapped Venezuela, said the Venezuelan finance minister, as President Nicolas Maduro headed to Beijing.”
- The finance minister Simon Zerpa is already in Beijing, where he has been talking to Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan 王岐山. The South China Morning Post says Maduro himself arrives today.
- The fine print of the $5 billion loan is still being finalized. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang 耿爽 told reporters details would be released “in a timely manner.”
- “Either cash or oil” is how Zerpa told Bloomberg that Venezuela would pay back the loan. He also said his country would sign “a strategic alliance on gold mining” with China.
- “China has been a key lender to Venezuela since 2008,” says Bloomberg: “Although there’s little public data, China has lent an estimated $70 billion in several installments, most to be paid back in oil.”
- Maduro “will attend an annual meeting of senior Chinese and Venezuelan officials, known as the Mixed Venezuela-China High Level Committee, and is also expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping,” according to the South China Morning Post.