The President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, received this Thursday at the Miraflores Palace the delegation of the Republic of the Congo that is on an official visit to the nation. The meeting seeks to reach consensus in different strategic areas such as culture, tourism and agriculture to strengthen bilateral cooperation. Countries with huge oil reserves are taking a decisive step in the new construction of the Global South.
Approaches such as those of Venezuela and the Republic of Congo allow the notion of the Global South to incorporate a bilateral relationship under conditions of mutual economic and political correspondence. Here we are not facing a project between a favored nation and a world power, or between two disadvantaged nations.
The common substratum has been diluted, and today the Global South sees many of its members moving towards emerging economies, which can more effectively assume a horizontal and democratic globalization. Two nations that are not inserted in the hegemonic axes of the bipolar world under construction, but neither do they remain on the periphery at the mercy of the economic and political dynamics of the first world.
The niche for the evolution of this bilateral relationship will undoubtedly not only be oil production. We cannot see the concept of the Global South as something already defined or finished, it currently functions as a communicative and socially acceptable strategy to refer to everything outside the West.
Venezuela and the Congo have also refused to align themselves with the war, but rather have joined in the criticisms and demands that civil society is making of the international financial system, and have somehow managed to get special attention.
Con la Delegación de la República del Congo llevamos a cabo un excelente encuentro binacional, destinado a fortalecer los lazos estratégicos en diversas áreas. Seguiremos promoviendo la Diplomacia Bolivariana de Paz por el bienestar de nuestras naciones. pic.twitter.com/sycQEvgn2R— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) August 4, 2023
The tweet reads, "With the Delegation of the Republic of Congo we held an excellent binational meeting, aimed at strengthening strategic ties in various areas. We will continue to promote the Bolivarian Diplomacy of Peace for the well-being of our nations."
“I want to congratulate the people of Latin America for their resilience, particularly the Venezuelan people who have bravely faced certain difficulties and obstacles,” said the official in the interview with the multiplatform broadcast on Wednesday night.
He assured that these obstacles have helped the development of the South American country and said that Venezuela “is an example to follow for other countries facing similar difficulties. I see you are always looking for solutions. Venezuela is looking for innovation”.
Between emerging powers, on the one hand, and fragile states, on the other, Venezuela and the Congo share an intermediate strip, making the so-called Global South as varied as its demands are broad.
In Africa, Asia and Latin America, there are complaints about the worsening of their food security problems, the serious impact of climate change, the impossibility of paying foreign debt, reductions in financing for their development and the limited support, or lack thereof, to have preventive systems for pandemics.
Both countries suffer from the impact of several centuries of colonialism, and from being under the domination, after World War II, of the international financial system and multinational corporations. The global economic and financial system condemned them both to be producers of raw materials who could not decide on the final price of their products.
However, during this visit the issues to be addressed cover several productive areas with a strong social impact, such as construction, urban planning and housing, forestry, the tourism industry and the arts and recreation. This leaves behind negative experiences, where both countries were only recognized as major producers and extractors of fossil fuels.
The G7 summit in Japan made it clear that the global south not only wants more economic power, but also political power, and a peer-to-peer dialogue. The invitation to Brazil, India and Indonesia to the G7 summit was a remarkable demonstration of the change facing the international order as we know it.
Venezuela and Congo also refuse to take a position in the confrontation between the United States and China. If they did so, they would harm their own interests, i.e., their economic and social development. There is too much at stake: in the late 1980s, almost 75 percent of the world’s GDP belonged to the G7. Today, the figure has dropped to 41 percent. Nor is the demographic evolution of the G7 countries encouraging. Meanwhile, India is the world’s most populous country and the sixth-strongest economy. Brazil is ranked 12th and Indonesia 15th.
Through his Twitter account, the Venezuelan Minister of Transport, Ramón Velásquez, assured that, as a “result of this binational meeting, agreements in air and maritime matters will be signed”. These agreements, he continued, will aim at “strengthening strategic ties in areas related to transportation”.
“Venezuela continues to move forward, promoting the Bolivarian diplomacy of peace, instructed by our president, Nicolás Maduro,” said Velasquez, who thanked the Minister of International Cooperation and Promotion of Public-Private Partnerships of the Republic of Congo, Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, for his visit. The Congolese minister, for his part, hopes that this meeting “will contribute to the consolidation of new strategic alliances to deepen relations for the benefit of the peoples,” according to a press release from the Venezuelan Ministry of Culture.
With these initiatives, both countries seek to turn the economic aspect into social and political development of their corresponding civil societies, in order to play a more important role on the world arena.
Venezuela and the Republic of Congo, with this bilateral meeting of official rank, demonstrate that they will not simply bow to the established powers, as they may have done in the past. Their leaders also note that the liberal, rules-based order does not work for them if their nations are not represented in the bodies that govern it. Their demand for reform of the UN Security Council, the World Bank and the IMF will become stronger. Even today the Global South is a great slogan, aimed at condemning a colonial past and that assumes an attitude of confrontation in the face of possible neocolonialism.
It is to be expected that both positions will succeed in influencing and changing, or at least nuancing in the short term, the design and construction of a new international order. Distancing from the Western prerogative of leadership is a starting point, which does not automatically mean embracing Beijing’s authoritarian model. But surveys indicate that China’s image in Brazil and India is less negative than in Australia and Germany.