China and Venezuela

south-south cooperation or rearticulated dependency?

Emma Miriam Yin-Hang To*, Rodrigo Acuña

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


China's increased participation in the world market and its consequent demand for energy has contributed to exacerbating the vulnerability of many externally oriented resource-rich countries. As a consequence, since the early 2000s the relationship between China and Venezuela has gone far beyond trade to an "energy cooperation" model with joint ventures and development funds not only in oil but also in nonresource sectors of the Venezuelan economy. Despite massive increases in social expenditure, Latin American theorists arguing from a neo-dependency perspective have questioned the long-term benefits of this so-called cooperation. They have characterized the relationship as "neoextractivist" in reference to the historically dependent relationship between Latin America and countries in the Global North. Whether the relationship is seen as based on South-South cooperation or on rearticulated global political and economic inequalities depends on whether the focus is on the behavior of the Chinese state and Chinese companies or on bilateral agreements between the two states. Although politically the relationship is based on cooperation, economically it displays many of the structural problems that Venezuela has faced since the discovery of oil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-140
Number of pages15
JournalLatin American Perspectives
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • China
  • Venezuela
  • Energy cooperation
  • Neoextractivism
  • Dependency

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