Road Trip or The Fantastic Voyage?

January 6, 2015


You have to wonder how it all started. Was it in the middle of a boring meeting talking about economic scenarios or Maduro’s sinking popularity (7% down in one month!) that Nicolas himself shouted “Road Trip” and they all left the room and called Raul and borrowed “the” plane and took off for Russia, or was it Nicolas in a thoughtful (sigh!) moment that came up and said: “I know, we can sell half the country to the Chinese for US$ 20 billion” and the “Fantastic Voyage” began.

And you also have to wonder how they felt landing in Moscow on the biggest “puente” day of the year, right before their Christmas day and thinking “Uuups” nobody is around and is so freaking cold, but the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs saved the day, they found a cardboard picture of Hugo and a General to take pictures with his iPhone and the trip was on to an auspicious start


At this point Nicolas must have been wondering why he got rid of Rafael, Ramirez at least knew his way around the world. Why go to Russia first when their problems may be as tough as Venezuela’s? They offered to sell us some planes, some tanks,but even Nicolas learned how to say Nyet, the same word they heard all the time from their Russians counterpart. Then Nicolas thought that Jan. 6th. was St. Nicolas day and wanted to celebrate his birthday and the puzzled Russians asked him if his name was Jesus. Puzzled faces…

Time to take the Road Trip to China.

The following is Marcos´s narrative (From his Twitter TL):

Oh! Beijing in January! So freaking cold. It is not the temperature, its the winds.  Thanks God Nicolas had the huge scarf made and said he could skip the Wall because he had already been there. The first meeting went well, except for the ending


When Nicolas mentioned US$ 20 billion, the Chinese smiled. An unscrutable smile at that.  US$ 20 billion, they said, we would not pay that for all of Mongolia, said one of the Chinese. Nicolas argued back saying Sidor alone was worth US$ 10 billion, to what Ling Pin answered: “Chavez paid US$ 1.97 billion for it when it was functioning and eporting”. As we went out Maduro asked me what that was about and I said: “I did not know that”

We then had a meeting:


No Chinese allowed here, you could only get in if you were a Minister and Merentes, of course, because he came all the way from Naiguata when he was called. We decided here to have lots of meetings. Make it look good in Venezuela.

So, we met with all of China (lots of people). Including the Chinese Oil company, Bank of China, Citic and Sany (below). The last two pictures may look the same, but the Chinese guys are different, we had like ten of these in two hours.It was a long day of work.


In the end, Maduro asked me to make a statement and I did :


I said: “The Chinese trusts us and they want to invest in Venezuela soon”

So, they are coming on Jan. 17th. to see where they want to invest in Venezuela. All wee need, for now, is US$ 20 billion. Maybe 20 more later. Should not be that hard, they seem to have a lot of money, even if they are Communists.

Off we go now, we visit Iran (boring!), Algeria and Saudi Arabia, Nicolas wants to convince them to cut production. I guess he has never talked to them.

It is indeed a Fantastic Voyage, even if Nicolas feels like he is in a Road Trip.

End of report.

48 Responses to “Road Trip or The Fantastic Voyage?”

  1. Excellent site. Lots of helpful info here. I am sending it
    to some pals ans additionally sharing in delicious.
    And of course, thank you for your sweat!

  2. Giovanni Perez Says:

    Venezuela’s “Oil Diplomacy Tour” Was A Bust. Here’s Why.

  3. From Brussels Says:

    As I read today it’s seems we will have a SINODVSA!

  4. m_astera Says:

    Regarding potatoes, they require a night-time temperature below 50*F or 10*C to set tubers. Most of Venezuela does not get that cold ever. Only in the Andes can spuds be grown in Venezuela.

  5. […] didn’t get what he was after: When Nicolas mentioned US$ 20 billion, the Chinese smiled. An unscrutable [sic] smile at that. US$ […]

    • Fausta is going to be in a good mood, the word is out Fidel is dying (or already died a couple of hours ago). If Maduro is going to Iran he will have an interesting choice, either keep on chatting and eating pistachios or get on his Cubana plane and fly to Havana.

  6. Dr. Faustus Says:

    A moment of silence – please – for those participants taking part in the “China Road Trip 2015” that their Cuban bag-o-bolts airliner will hold-up on the return voyage to Venezuela. All will boarding the aircraft with a huge hangover. The trip was a disaster….

  7. Shrillary Clinton Says:

    Im thinking “banana republic” no longer applies to Venezuela as it would insult most of the Central American countries and Ecuador to be grouped with Venz… so what domestic plants that feed on fecies can be used instead? Its been to long since I was there and don’t recall any plants other than guava? a guava republic ?

  8. Valued Customer Says:

    It’s too bad that the Cubans left the Comandante Eterno to bake in the sun for a few days during his last set of treatments. They could have used him for a remake of “Weekend at Bernie’s”

  9. halfempty Says:

    From your link Incan’t find they said anything?

    • Boludo Tejano Says:

      Perhaps that is the point. Such as this gem from Maduro:

      Venezuela is implementing economic recovery and long-term development plans that will expand international financing and increase investment in domestic production, said Maduro.

      Yeah, right.
      Just recycle the PDVSA claims over the years that production would increase to 4 million, 5 million……BOPD. Just as credible as the Maduro snippet above.

  10. moctavio Says:

    Maduro says 20 billiopn, the Chinese say this:

    • halfempty Says:

      Well, at least he can carve up the cold shoulder for sandwiches on the flight to Iran.

    • Dr. Faustus Says:

      And, …and, with a cool 20 billion Chinese bucks in their pockets (ahem..), just imagine how many container loads of McDonald’s French Fries that can now be purchased! This may inspire a “frie-a-coza” to take place sometime in the near future!

    • Miguel Octavio, the Chinese haven’t built an upgrader for their Faja JV. That shows a lack of commitment. PDVSA is having to import blending hydrocarbons (Algerian) to enable exports. A high class upgrader like the one Total built would be a key item to improve faja logistics. And yet the chinese don’t even have their own upgrader. Neither do we see the Russians doing much. This is a key point to focus on. And the Chinese behavior tells me they won’t expose $20 billion to keep Maduro in power. The whole trip is vepourware.

      • moctavio Says:

        That’s the point of my link, the note is very vague, they “vow” to cooperate. It too Chavez nine months to convince the Chinese to give him 20 billion and eighteen for the Chinese to disburse. The Chinese did not participate in the Carabobo field where PDVSA was asking for financing of its 60%. The only thing Venezuela has that the Choinese may be interested in is Citgo, but besides the litigation risk, there is the risk it wold not be approved. Not worth the fight.

  11. Boludo Tejano Says:

    While Chavismo has the greatest amount of hegemony of communications, and an iron-fisted control over all three branches of government, the country’s economy is going down the tubes. Not a pleasant situation for those in power. As this article is about Maduro’s trip to China, I will end this posting with a message to Maduro, Godgiven, and Co, a message that was once claimed to be Chinese: May you live in interesting times.

  12. SKEPTICAL Says:

    I am not Venezuelan, but from a neighbouring country. Having followed closely the developments in the last 10 years or so, with direct links at different levels at at the government and PSUV, I have always been quite amazed by the complete lack of minimum management capabilities throughtout the entire system. In my direct negotiations with government institutions and parastatals, many times I felt like I was sometime around the 60s or 70s talking with one of those young post cuban revolution brainwashed young revolutionaries or else with clearly corruption oriented sharks (shall I say “boligarchs”), aiming to get whatever available to them. Now, with the latest developments and with indications that some of my government contacts are indeed preparing themselves to leave the boat and get as far away as possible, I am really afraid that the outcome, very unfortunately, might be worse than expected. Before Chavez things were quite bad for the majority of the population but then there was this last hope. Now most people will have nothing to be believe in, no hope at all and – most important – are starting to have problems even to eat. History has shown where this can lead to…

  13. That awful, awful cgi of Bolivar has got to go. Uncanny valley!

  14. moctavio Says:

    And Venezuela has not paid Gold Reserve, they are suing in US Court. So, little chance of getting money for these right away.

  15. Ira Says:

    Is it at all possible that China would cut a check (figuratively speaking) for $20 billion…predicated on repayment at an absurdly low barrel price of, let’s say, $25? Or even LOWER, based on today’s price trends?

    I ask this because China literally has VZ OVER a barrel, and Maduro so desperately needs the cash and lifeline to survive 2015, even if it’s economic suicide. And let’s face it–he’s done it before.

    Or is it the accepted assumption that the Chinese realize VZ couldn’t possibly meet such an obligation anyway, and is going to definitely implode?

    • Noel Says:

      There is always the risk that a new government would refuse to honor an agreement if its terms were overly favorable to China. It wouldn’t be a world first and China has to be aware of this.

      • Ira Says:

        But I don’t think a new government would reneg on legal past agreements. Also, China is in the position of playing loan shark to VZ for decades to come:

        Pay them back, and they’ll lend them even more.

        I guess my view is that this is the route China would normally take, but won’t do it because they don’t see VZ as continuing to function, even in the most limited sense.

    • moctavio Says:

      Ira, I dont think they will do it. They have been telling the Government to devalue, organize the economy etc for years and they have not done it. 20 billio will take care of this year, how do you pay bit back? Wha happens next year?

    • Frohike Says:

      There are Venezuelan assets other than just oil. China could gain access to Ven’s vast gold deposits with very favorable terms. Maduro is in no position to dictate terms.

      • moctavio Says:

        How much do you think they are worth? The suits against Venezuela ask for just a couple of billiion dollars for the expropriations. Barrick gold the largest US gold company is worth 12 billion and I assure you Venezuela does not have the reserves Barrick has. So, how much money are we talking about. At the end of the day, Citgo is the only thing worth a lot of money that does not have the labor, infrastructure, etc, etc, problems of Venezuela.

        • Frohike Says:

          There are 20-30 million oz of gold in las Cristinas/Brisas. The project is ready for construction, but VZ would need to settle the two ICSID cases for construction to commence. China has been very interesting in this project for a while, but VZ would only allow them to build the mine, not take an interest in the gold. Now, China can dictate the terms. There is a benefit for VZ if this does go forward – VZ must settle the ICSID cases soon. If they don’t, it will be considered a default. It will take $1.5-2 billion to settle the cases (VZ lost the Gold Reserve case last September and will soon lose the Crystallex case).

  16. Roy Says:

    It is for exactly this situation that the Spanish language has the phrase “pena ajena”. I am not even Venezuelan and I feel deeply shamed by this pathetic show of desperation.

  17. I managed to mock-interview Maduro when he got to the Moscow airport lounge, in my tale he thought I was from Al Jazeera.

    Seriously, this morning I heard a chavista ex minister is holed up in Madrid, and an enchufado who was visiting him exploded and started cussing his chavista wife at a holiday party they were having because she made a comment supporting Maduro.

    A chavista college professor I know put up a very moving comment in her Facebook page about running out of money and food…

    If I were you guys tell those you know not to hit the streets to protest. They have to wait until people in the barrios do it. It’s a difficult decision, and I definitely don’t support violence. But if tempers are getting hot and people are getting desperate…then it’s time to either get out of the country or do something other than wait for meaningless elections.

    Venezuela is headed into unknown territory, but I suspect it’s about to get very ugly. The least you can do is get children out of that place ASAP. And I wouldn’t be buying venezuela bonds at this time.

  18. Ira Says:

    One would guess that the McDonald’s in Beijing all have french fries.

  19. Flying Circus Says:

    Maduro tidbit: He orders the Captain of the VIP Cubana Ilyushin he’s flying to turn-off the aircraft transponder once outside of Moscow airspace. The air corridor to Beijing is light with aircraft spaced over 15min apart. He does this because he knows he’s being tracked by Venezuelans on website such as flightradar. Ahmadinejad would order the pilots of his B747SP to turn off the transponder when arriving to NYC for UNGA. He would then order the pilots to take the “scenic” route pissing off air traffic control. These leaders are mentally disordered

  20. Flying Circus Says:

    This trip takes the prize. This guy (Maduro) is so fucking clueless and so fucking stupid when it comes to talking. He’s not going to make it.

  21. Flying Circus Says:

    CarlosElio, Sir you are correct, the meeting with Xi was a lie. They will meet but not like they wanted us to think. Not like the Costa RIcans who where dressed for a real meeting in an beautiful hall with Xi and his team:

    and who got results. The Costa Ricans are not coming back empty handed. They went there to seal the deal. Maduro wanted us to think the same that fucking POS liar. He went there to beg like a dog

  22. Flying Circus Says:

    It’s 4:00pm in Beijing right now and there are no updates. WTF is the media team doing? Touring the city?

  23. Flying Circus Says:

    The “visit to OPEP countries” is codetalk for Iran. They are coming back empty handed but concerned about Iran and what they will talk about. I will do a backflip if they visit the Kingdom. The Algeria visit is to secure oil shipments…they buy crude from Algeria to blend their stuff with.

  24. GeronL Says:

    Venezuela needs to lift the sanctions on Venezuela.

  25. GeronL Says:

    Being ruled by socialists must really stink, but being ruled by the most incompetent socialists outside of Pyongyang must suck rocks.

  26. CarlosElio Says:

    In the video announcing his trip to China he says he was invited by Xi Jinping to finalize the agreements that had been discussing since July. Watch min 1:58 after he mentions those responsible for the negotiations and says that there was an earlier meeting to prepare this one. The trip was to sign agreements, not to announce that the Chinese will be visiting Venezuela to scout possible investments. This trip is a big farce.

    I checked Telesur English and there is nothing about a meeting between Maduro and Xi, not even a mention of the trip to China. El Universal notes that Maduro was welcomed to China by the Venezuelan Ambassador, Ivan Zerpa.

  27. stuart Says:


  28. Tom ODonnell Says:

    Reminds me of when Chavez insisted on returning to China, but the Chinese said ‘why?’ as he had already just signed lots of agreements and now was the time to be home doing the hard work of implementing them. Returning so son seemed unserious. But, Chavez insisted, so they said, ‘ok, come’, and gave him a date at Christmas time, thinking that would dissuade him … but he showed up anyway, with a plane load of hallacas to celebrate….

    Thanks for the post — a pitiful and desperate exercise by Mr. Maduro

  29. The stop in Russia was really for refueling. Can’t be positive about this I’m guessing that he was denied landing rights in both the US and Canada. The US is only required to allow Maduro access to NYC to attend the annual UN summit every September. At any rate, I’m not sure why they would even publish this because it’s a total embarrassment. They met with a Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs. No Putin, No Medvedev, No Foreign Minister.

    Saw today that McDonald’s in Venezuela no longer has fries to sell. What’s weird about this story is that the franchisee blamed a dock labor issue in California for the shortage but no other country in Latin America is affected. Then again, McDonald’s in every other country in Latin America sources its potatoes largely in Latin America and often internally.

    The other news reported here in Colombia was that it is now illegal in Venezuela to take any pictures of the shortages in any retail establishment.

    • GeronL Says:

      Potatoes are not hard to grow, you can grow then in old tires. The incompetence of 21st century socialism gets sadder and sadder.

    • Flying Circus Says:

      Charles, he was not denied landing rights. You are clueless. However, the refuelling in Moscow is to avoid Europe. It was a mistake to publish the Moscow pics. Their is an advance team that brings and places the pictures and flags. The China pictures all from meetings that took place at hotel. They did not bother to suit and tie…lazy ass bums. They are lost (due to incompetence). They got nothing from the Chinese. That is too obvious from their announcements. Compare those pics to the Costa Rican delegation meeting pics from the same day:

    • Moscow is a pretty decent stop on the long route to Beijing. And I bet they pay lower fuel costs, and the maintenance logistics for that plane they use are excellent. it’s a reasonable choice for Cubans flying a Russian plane to choose it. The chintzy Bolivar and Chavez pics are so out of place they show Maduro and Delcy are fools. The Russians must feel they are dealing with idiots.

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