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The Daily: Venezuela’s Collapsing Oil Diplomacy

December 2, 2013 7:04 am by: Category: The Daily Leave a comment A+ / A-
photo credit: Franklin Rodriguez

photo credit: Franklin Rodriguez

Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.

The economic diplomacy plan of the late President Hugo Chavez to leverage Venezuela’s oil wealth to spread his influence across Latin America is failing.

The late President Hugo Chavez’s dream of leveraging Venezuela’s oil wealth to spread revolution across Latin America is crumbling under the weight of an economic crisis that is forcing his hand-picked successor to cut back on generous foreign aid. Signs of the country’s waning influence are becoming more apparent. In early November, Guatemala withdrew from the Petrocaribe oil alliance launched by Chavez, saying it didn’t receive the ultra-low financing rates it had been promised by Venezuela when it first sought to join the 18-nation pact in 2008. Also in recent weeks, representatives of Brazil and Colombia have held meetings with their Venezuelan counterparts to collect overdue payment for food, manufactured goods and other imports. [The Globe and Mail]


Nobel Prize-winning scientist Harold Varmus writes an in-depth essay on the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and its success as a science diplomacy effort.

The fuzzy definitions and limited knowledge of U.S. foreign aid programs may help to explain why so few Americans—including my well-educated, generally liberal friends—know what the term “PEPFAR” represents (the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief), let alone understand how successful the program has been and how it was conceived and carried out. Most are surprised to learn about the program’s extraordinary success: by preventing and treating HIV infection on a large scale in the developing world, PEPFAR has turned around declining life expectancies in many countries and likely saved some countries—even an entire continent—from economic ruin. [Science Diplomacy]



The UK and China struck a soccer diplomacy deal wherein the English Premier League receives advice in how to properly market itself in China while the Chinese Super League receives help fostering elite, youth and community soccer as well as referee and coach training.

Ping-pong diplomacy gave way to its soccer equivalent on Monday when the English Premier League, part of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s delegation to China, agreed to help nurture the sport in its most promising growth market. The Chinese Super League (CSL) will give marketing advice to the Premier League and its clubs in China in exchange for help fostering elite, youth and community soccer there, part of a deal inked on the first of the prime minister’s three-day visit. The Premier League and British Council also announced plans to expand a coaching and referee training programme under the Chinese Ministry of Education called Premier Skills with the aim of reaching more than 1.2 million Chinese students by 2016. [Reuters]


Japan is restarting its soft power engine with a tax payer-funded, billion dollar campaign to promote “Cool Japan.”

The Cool Japan Fund, which launches on Monday, aims eventually to use about US$1 billion of mostly public funds to boost distinctive food and drink, fashion, animated and live-action movies and other “soft” exports. Although conceived before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office last December, it fits his theme that “Japan is back”. Some experts question the need for taxpayers to pump money into private companies. But Nobuyuki Ota, chief executive of Cool Japan Fund Inc, said it made sense for the government-dominated effort to pick winners among companies keen to expand abroad. [SCMP]



Can Africa use soft power to put more food on the table? Perhaps if African countries cooperate more.

Internal strife has died across the continent, save for a few challenges. Even Somalia, which was, for a long period, a whirlwind of conflict, is seeing a semblance of normalcy in many aspects. At the continental level, African states, never mind the merits and demerits of the ICC debate, have found an issue about which they can project a united voice … It is also the time to strengthen national negotiating teams and deepen collaboration between African teams so that the collective interests of Africa are taken better care of at the global negotiating table. Sharing of information, skills and personnel will be required. This is not to say the process will be easy or quick. It is, however, a critical step that will determine whether Africa’s soft power will transit from making fine speeches to improving the livelihoods of Africans. [Daily Nation]


China’s announcement of its Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea last week conflicted with many of its diplomatic relations in East Asia.

Yet, while the bullish move is predominantly a shot across the bow to both Tokyo and Washington, there are other interesting layers of the ADIZ, which may produce negative externalities for China’s other relationships in the region. For example, the imposition on the ADIZ has likely reinforced for several Southeast Asian states – Vietnam and the Philippines in particular – the image of Beijing as bent on throwing its weight around to achieve a desired end state on its maritime disputes in the South China Sea. The action has also further cooled once budding ties between China and Australia. Canberra summoned China’s ambassador to Australia this week and released a statement blasting the ADIZ as “unhelpful to regional security.” And the ADIZ, which also covers Taiwan’s airspace, has widened the cross-Strait rift with Taipei – a tussle that became more knotted following Japan’s fisheries agreement with Taiwan in the East China Sea earlier this year. But there is fallout from the ADIZ that has the potential to be particularly harmful to China’s interests. In an apparent blunder, Beijing stretched its ADIZ boundaries to include South Korean airspace. [The Diplomat]



Obert Gutu, an opposition party leader in Zimbabwe, argues that soft power is the only way to topple strong-arm president Robert Mugabe in elections.

Comrades in the democratic movement, now is the time to seriously focus on the development of soft power as opposed to hard power. Elections are NOT going to be won simply because we are popular and also because the majority of the voters support us. This is a very serious game of political power dynamics and believe you me, Zanu PF will NOT lose the ordinary, conventional harmonised elections. They will, invariably, continue to manipulate, inter alia, the national voters’ roll, the State-controlled print and electronic media as well as traditional leaders and other opinion leaders to ensure that they always “win” elections. Once again comrades, I maintain that if no serious investment is deployed in soft power development, 2018 will come and once again, we will ” lose ” the elections.  Soft power is the way to go. We simply have no other alternative. [NewsdzeZimbabwe]


Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock was named a Goodwill Ambassador by UNESCO earlier this year, a post which has included his establishment of International Jazz Day and other cultural diplomacy initiatives. Seated in the living room of his casually elegant home here in West Hollywood, not far from an

alcove crowded with Grammy Awards — more than a dozen of them, including one for album of the year — Mr. Hancock, 73, was in a cordial mood, quick with a disarming laugh. He was also still jet-lagged from an East Asian tour that had ended in copious meetings with government officials about International Jazz Day, his signature initiative as a good will ambassador for Unesco. [New York Times]


Have certain family members that regularly test your diplomatic skills when you have no choice but to spend time with them during the holidays? Well, here are 8 public diplomacy rules for surviving those most trying of times.

While public diplomacy is most often used when tackling international affairs and politics, your Thanksgiving dinner table, Hannukah celebration, or Christmas tree lighting, might feel like an international crisis… These 8 Public Diplomacy Rules for Surviving the Holiday Season should help! [CPD Blog]


The Daily: Venezuela’s Collapsing Oil Diplomacy Reviewed by on . [caption id="attachment_935" align="alignnone" width="700"] photo credit: Franklin Rodriguez[/caption] Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting [caption id="attachment_935" align="alignnone" width="700"] photo credit: Franklin Rodriguez[/caption] Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting Rating: 0

About Michael Ardaiolo

Michael Ardaiolo is currently a student in Syracuse University's Public Diplomacy Master's Program: M.A. in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and M.S. in Public Relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. In addition, he is a recovering record slinger, a Criterion Collection addict, an NBA obsessor, and a struggling student of the Korean language.

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