But if there's a default, experts don't think China would suffer much; the Asian giant is likely taking careful steps to protect itself.
"If China asked for guarantees before, can you imagine what they're asking for now that the country is on the brink of disaster," Burelli said. "China is not going to do anything that jeopardizes them. In a default scenario, they still will be in a good position because they have unique terms."
Burelli said the uncertainty in Venezuela makes it impossible to predict the timing of any default, but he said it's certainly a possibility. "A default could happen for two reasons: because you don't have money to meet your debt obligations, or because you can't keep prioritizing external debt over internal needs," Burelli said.
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Burelli, along with many other experts, doesn't doubt Venezuela's desire to honor its debts. But as circumstances worsen in the South American nation, Maduro could be forced to reprioritize and put the immediate needs of Venezuelans first, he says.
"Debt payment is a priority now, but problems in Venezuela are getting worse. There are different kinds of problems that could lead to Venezuela to default," Burelli said. "There are a lot of deaths in Venezuela because of a shortage of basic supplies needed in any health system. That will consume interest payments, and the amortization of principal that you thought could be made, but that you won't be able to make."
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Michael Ganske, head of emerging markets at investment management firm Rogge Global Partners, said he feels confident about Venezuela's ability to keep up with debt payments through 2015.