chapter  13
Resource diplomacy under hegemony
The peculiar case of Venezuela under the Bolivarian Revolution
WithWatson Cynthia, Zweig David
Pages 13

This chapter explores the changes within the context of the triangular relationship among the United States (US), China and Venezuela. The hypothesis is that the Venezuelan government's desire to engage in anti-US behaviour is the driving factor in the relationship, rather than competition between China and the US for hegemony. Natural resource exploitation remains the key to Venezuela's economy, with the petroleum sector providing 90 per cent of the export earnings and 30 per cent of the gross domestic product in 2009. While the Venezuelan government privatized much of the industry in the 1970s, Chavez Frias renationalized most of it under a 2001 Hydrocarbons Law. China is using Venezuela as a tool against US hegemony, but the driver of this triangular relationship is Venezuela, whose leaders need the proof of growing ties to China as leverage to maintain their successive regimes in the face of mounting impatience with their domestic failures.