Leftist leaders in Cuba and Venezuela welcomed Chinese diplomats to their respective capitals this week to discuss support for their regimes amid ongoing economic crises.
Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro announced on Twitter the arrival of Chinese official Zhao Bentang on Thursday. The two sides reportedly discussed “imperial aggression” against Maduro, by which he meant the international global recognition of President Juan Guaidó as the nation’s legitimate head of state.
“Pleasant meeting of work with Zhao Bentang, a senior official from the Chinese chancellery,” Maduro wrote on Twitter. “We talked about multiple issues related to bilateral cooperation and thanked China for the strong support and solidarity of the imperial aggression against our homeland.”
Grata reunión de trabajo con Zhao Bentang, alto funcionario de la cancillería China. Conversamos sobre múltiples temas relacionados con la cooperación bilateral y le agradecí el decidido respaldo y la solidaridad de China ante las agresiones imperiales contra nuestra Patria. pic.twitter.com/XtsbCbptDb
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) May 17, 2019
According to the state propaganda network VTV, the two countries also discussed over 600 mutual projects of cooperation and the recent arrival of medical supplies from Beijing intended to alleviate the political pressure on Maduro to step down. The aid shipment contained around 71 tons of medicine and surgical equipment, which Chinese Ambassador to Venezuela Li Baorong said, “represents the friendship of the Chinese people to the Venezuelan people.”
China is one of the world’s most steadfast backers of the Maduro regime, having long supported it in the form of loans and military assistance. Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told Breitbart News that China has also actively helped the regime control, censor, and shut down parts of the internet deemed a threat to the socialist regime’s stability.
In Cuba, state propaganda outlet Granma reported on the meeting of Communist Party leader Raúl Castro with Admiral Miao Hua, a Chinese military representative, on Thursday morning. According to the outlet, the “excellent relations between the peoples, parties, governments and armed forces of both countries were evident” throughout the meeting.
China remains Cuba’s most important trading partner and the two sides have repeatedly agreed to expand economic ties through a series of commercial agreements. Beijing has also provided Cuba numerous grants, loans, and bailouts to the sum of billions of dollars. Last December, Chinese state-outlet Global Times lauded the island’s communist rulers for rejecting “individualism” and suggested that they copy China’s economic model to increase their future prosperity.
“When it comes to China’s experience or the Chinese model, one can certainly not neglect the Chinese system,” the Times asserted. “In this era filled with liberalism and individualism, the Cuban people are still holding onto a belief in social equality and socialism. After 40 years of reform and opening-up, China has developed quite a few experiences that are worth learning.”