2955a55bd30de55c39aae81647e88cdc6285d185_originalSliding oil prices have sent Venezuela on a downward spiral — and sent President Nicolas Maduro on a trip to China to make an urgent appeal for cash. Maduro, who announced his “very important tour” in a national address Sunday after admitting Venezuela was in recession, made a stopover in fellow oil giant Russia on Monday before arriving Tuesday in China, his country’s largest investor and second-largest oil customer. The socialist leader, who has promised policy changes to address the inflation and shortages crippling Venezuela, will then tour several OPEC countries in an effort to revive his government’s failed bid to persuade the cartel to slash output. Venezuela was already mired in economic woes before oil began its recent slide, but the sharp downturn in crude prices — which hit five-and-a-half-year lows Tuesday — has been especially punishing for a country that relies on oil for 96 percent of its foreign currency. More