After going through this article on Wikipedia I have learnt that South Africa supports Nicolás Maduro, while most African nations have made no statements and few have maintained neutrality.

What is it so?

By no means I am saying I prefer or have any bias towards Maduro or Guaidó.

  • 2
    The reasons I've seen people give for supporting Maduro tend to all be pretty similar. They say the election was legitimate and thus Maduro is the legitimate president. Are you aware of this typically given reason? If so, why do you think South Africa would be any different? Of course I chose my words carefully: I said "the reasons given", which may not be the same as the actual reasons, but those we can only speculate about.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 2:40
  • Given the recent military coup against the democratically elected president of Bolivia and the resulting human rights abuses and suppression of dissent by the "interim government" (which has still not scheduled new elections and are legislating to remove their political opposition), SA's statement is pretty reasonable.
    – Kai
    Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 16:27
  • @Kai - That's certainly true. It's the cycle of revolution, with people promising change and turning into authoritarians, although in this case it was remarkably fast. Áñez promised that she was just an interim leader and that she would not seek to be a candidate: then she ran anyway. And she sent the military into the streets to quell opposition, absolving them of most liability for their actions. Naturally, there were two massacres, so she paid off the family members of the victims to keep quiet. She's well on her way to becoming a proper autocrat, more than Morales ever was.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 12:38
  • On that note, though, to me it makes sense to note that Evo Morales was still a budding authoritarian and not promote an overly positive image of him. One cannot forget that his own party instituted term limits in Bolivia, and that he promised not to seek another term, but then held a referendum to do so anyway. When it lost (i.e. the people did not want him to ve able to have another term) he petitioned the Plurinational Constitutional Court to remove the limits, despite opposition from the OAS.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 12:40
  • However, it sounds like you might view the situations of Bolivia and Venezuela as equivalent, when in fact they are not. Maduro and Morales's philosophical affinity obscures this. But consider: Evo had a high approval rating in 2019, possibly over 60%. Nícolas has a terrible approval rating, between 5 and 20% depending on the poll. One president seems to have been governing because of the people's support; the other, largely in spite of it. Morales presided over a period of steady if unimpressive economic growth; Maduro, the complete collapse of his country's economy.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 12:52

3 Answers 3


South Africa clearly accepts the position put forth most forcefully by Russia and also supported by China that Maduro is quite simply the legitimate elected leader of Venezuela. In addition to the statement quoted in full by @RickSmith, a more detailed one is reported in an article in the Daily Maverick from March 2019. Guaido has not been elected president and so this position is not blatantly unreasonable.

That said, it should also be noted that South Africa is working closely with both Russia and China on other matters things like military exercises and nuclear energy. It may be the case that other African nations have a different geopolitical strategy and prefer to avoid conflict with the United States.


Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations during the UN Security Council Meeting on Venezuela

26 January 2019

Mr President,

In any country, political parties choose the provisions on which to conduct elections.

Venezuela is no different and it held its Presidential elections on 20 May 2018, on the basis of its national laws governing such elections. These elections also took place in accordance on the Agreement of Electoral Guarantees that was signed by all political parties shortly before the elections. The elections were further overseen by Venezuela’s National Electoral Council.

It was on this basis that South Africa’s President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, congratulated President Maduro following his inauguration for a second term as President.

Mr President,

A founding principle of South Africa’s constitutional democracy, that we hold very dear, is the respect for the rule of law. We are therefore deeply concerned by what is a clear attempt, in Venezuela, to circumvent the country’s constitutional legal mechanisms which governs its elections.

Any grievances or disputes should be resolved in a peaceful manner through the proper mechanisms and processes provided for in the constitution of Venezuela and its electoral laws, without external influence. This is standard and indeed best practice, in all democracies that subscribe to the rule of law.

Mr President,

South Africa echoes the statement made by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres in Davos on 24 January 2019, where he urged a de-escalation of tensions to prevent violence.

We furthermore support the Secretary-General’s call for the “urgent need for all relevant actors to commit to inclusive and credible political dialogue to address the protracted crisis in the country, with full respect for the rule of law and human rights”.

South Africa thus calls on all parties to participate in a national dialogue process to ensure unity and reconciliation, and in furtherance of a political solution to the situation.

We would like to reiterate that any further action or grievance by either party should be resolved through the due legal processes of the country.

We are indeed also concerned about the humanitarian situation in Venezuela and the resultant migration that has taken place. We call on the international community, as well as the relevant UN bodies to work with the Venezuela government and its neighbours to assist those in need.

Mr President,

I wish to stress that South Africa is firmly against any attempts at undue or unconstitutional change of government in Venezuela. The Security Council should never be an instrument that validates unconstitutional changes of any Government.

Instead, this Council should promote avenues that create environments conducive to dialogue and cooperation that would ease the challenges and hardships faced by the people of Venezuela.

I thank you.


OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road


I think it is economic strategy, although I am not a supporter of the Venezuelan government, or the ANC (I am South African). I can see the possible economic benefits South Africa could get from Venezuela. Our president is a strategic businessman, and I don't doubt his experience in that regard. He was very influential in forming workers Unions in the Apartheid days, and thus came a predominant "struggle" leader, among others. I just think he is not as good as politics as he is at business. I could be very wrong but being friends with Venezuela as it is now, could earn us brownie points with them, considering how the rest of the world is alienating the current government. As far as I am aware Venezuela has the largest oil deposits in the world? (they do...) The left in South Africa has a historic "comradeship" with socialist from Latin America, in particular, Cuba, who now are helping us fight COVOID-19. They also assisted MK in old bush wars. I think it's more of a historic bond, one which could pay off. Who knows, I do know the ANC greatly admired Hugo Chávez, and his economic policies. The newer generation of socialists in our country do support, and are inspired by the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement. The EFF for example, were great supporters of that particular movement, and often praised it publicly.

To me it a logical decision to make, because it does seem to appease both the majority poor, as well as rich minority. We have a funny form of democracy in our country, it goes in and out of socialism and democracy, called it a "mixed" economy, of both a private sector, and SOE's. I don't think South Africa wants trouble with anyone, but I think the ANC know the leverage they hold, and how South Africa keeps Africa relatively stable (as can be), our geo-political, as well economic position in the South Atlantic is kinda an underrated security net as well, it's like a buffer between the Western and Eastern hemispheres . After all it is true when they say that South Africa is the gateway to Africa.

Talking about Russian and Chinese interest in our country, to me it is also logical for them to take interest in South Africa, and the potential of what an alliance between our country and the Venezuelan government as it is, or what it may become,can achieve. Both countries are in need to develop their infrastructure to fully make the most of their resources, so it's logical, business. Russia and China, if they get it right, they stand a chance to gain a strong foothold in both Africa and South America, and probably among socialists governments in Latin America.

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