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25.10.2016 18:39

Azerbaijan-Venezuela: regime interests

President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro is the first Latin American head of state to visit Baku since Azerbaijan gained its independence.In short, Maduro's visit pursued political goals, which are dictated by the strategy of the Non-Aligned Movement, which involved the country's third and fourth world, calling the opposition to Western open societies.

Formally, Azerbaijan has become the first point of Maduro's visit to the oil-producing region, where he will make subsequent stops in Iran, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. The Venezuelan president wants to maintain recent preliminary agreements of OPEC countries to reduce oil production in order to achieve a certain increase in "black gold" prices. OPEC's meeting on this issue is to be held on November 30, but most experts are skeptical about the consensus of the petroleum exporting countries in this organization. Iran as an important member of the organization, and Russia, as an observer sabotaged the idea, based on their own interests and concerns. But the most important is that the USA and other countries with developed economics are not interested in the growth of oil prices. In this context, statements by the President Ilham Aliyev on readiness of freezing oil production do not sound convincing. As is known, Azerbaijan's share in world oil production is just over half a percentage point, and in addition, production reduced due to the exhaustion of the wells. Of course, such statements by Aliyev should be regarded as politically motivated under deepening crisis in the oil-dependent Azerbaijan, and in Venezuela.

Relations between Venezuela and Azerbaijan began to establish in the framework of the Aliyevs strategy of penetration into the Latin American continent and the establishment of relations by semi-democratic regimes. The extent of these relations with a number of countries is testified by the adoption of the relevant documents by the parliaments of Colombia, Peru, Panama, and Honduras, Paraguay and Guatemala in connection with Khojaly genocide and the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

In the past, Azerbaijan used the personal friendly relations of the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, and joined the swap transactions for the sale of Venezuelan oil to Belarus, which can be regarded as the first step in building bridges between Baku and Caracas. Later joining the Non-Aligned Movement, the official Baku used this platform for the development of its relations with Latin America, and particularly with Venezuela, which now is heading the organization, and in 2019 will pass a three-year presidency to Azerbaijan.

Another important detail can be seen in the relationship between the two countries. Official Baku is taking into account some practical steps applied by Hugo Chavez and Maduro, both to fight against the opposition, and the implementation of the program of transitional programs, including state control over pricing, diversification of the economy, the institutional elements. Institute of vice-presidency, which Ilham Aliyev introduced recently, has been completely copied from the Venezuelan model. And the current head of Venezuela, Maduro, became a president after being vice-president, appointed by the Head of State. Subsequently, using the administrative resource, he won the disputed election with a margin of one percent. Today Maduro provides a certain guarantee of his presidential power through the vice president appointed by him. Even if next year the opposition in Venezuela achieves a referendum on the resignation of Maduro, on which it has consistently insisted, the power will pass for a transition period to his appointee.

Bilateral relations in the economic field between the two countries are too limited yet, but in political terms, Venezuela has already made its choice in favor of Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus region. At a press conference in Baku, referring to the Karabakh conflict, Maduro said: "Azerbaijan can always rely on our will and support in the implementation of UN Security Council resolution. We, with the support of many countries have been elected to the Security Council. In the framework of the Security Council we will do our best for the application of international law. Azerbaijan carried out very clear activity in the protection of its national interests. Venezuela is your new and reliable friend. "

President Ilham Aliyev, for whom the Karabakh issue is one of the priorities of the Latin American politics, in his statement, based on a joint declaration, announced the development of future bilateral relations in the field of investment and oil, particularly in the offshore oil production: "The Declaration outlined the main directions of further cooperation - the development of political relations, economic cooperation, investment, energy cooperation, transport, science, education, and environmental protection. "

Review of the Azerbaijani press shows that the visit was perceived as a standby step of politeness that is deceptive, considering primarily the similarity of oil-dependent regimes, their difficulty, as well as their goals and objectives, as well as their proximity to the Non-Aligned Movement as the Presidency of Venezuela and the successor Azerbaijan. These relations can be considered as another strengthening of Azerbaijan's position in Latin America, where Armenias positions has historically been strong, particularly in countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.

However, the weakness of these relations is the weakness of President Maduro, who in terms of the deepest economic crisis is exposed to strong pressure from the opposition, in the hands of which is Parliament and the control over the government. In the best case Maduro will stay in power until the end of his presidential term, which expires in 2018, but in the long term, the opposition probably, will come to power. The position of Ilham Aliyev is not so extremely, but his sustainability will depend on the further steps in the field of diversification of his policy. While, decline is observed in the economy, protests are growing, and the predictions of experts are becoming more pessimistic. Under such circumstances, the strategic stability of the new Azerbaijan-Venezuela relations can be achieved through the prism of interests and approaches not of the two regimes, but the two states.

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