Chávez's Most Helpful Campaign Aide: China

The Venezuelan president uses loans from China to keep promises
Photograph by Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

Edelmina Flores thanks God and Hugo Chávez for her apartment in a new housing complex in the Venezuelan president’s home state of Barinas. She might also want to thank the Chinese government. Since 2007, the China Development Bank has lent Venezuela $42.5 billion, backed by revenue from Venezuelan crude. That sum accounts for nearly a quarter of the bank’s overseas loans. At least $12 billion was promised in the past 15 months, when stagnant oil output and higher borrowing costs among major emerging markets made raising capital more expensive.

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