The COVID-19 pandemic has created multiple opportunities for the People’s Republic of China to advance its commercial position and influence in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Testimony before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission
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This article was originally published in the Military Review magazine, English edition (November-December 2019).
Diálogo interviewed Major General Tito Livio Moreno Coello, head of the Honduran Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff, during the Central American Security Conference 2021, in Panama City, June 22-23.
This report was made possible by general support to CSIS. No external funding contributed to this report.
Uruguay, like many countries in Latin America, has deepened its relationship with China in recent years. Unlike in neighboring countries, however, Uruguay’s strong institutions and interest in maintaining a relationship with the U.S. have tempered its newfound friendship with Beijing. Under the government of Luis Lacalle Pou, the country has been especially tactful, increasing trade with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) while expressing skepticism toward investment. Other countries in Latin America should follow in Uruguay’s path to make the most of the opportunities provided by China.
Abstract. This paper examines Chinese commercial, political, and security engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean, comparing it with similar engagement in Europe. It finds evidence that PRC engagement globally is driven by a strategy focused on re-orienting the world to the economic benefit of the PRC, with nonetheless important political, institutional, and security engagement in support of these objectives and the consequences of their pursuit. It finds common elements in China’s pursuit of secure sources of supply, markets and technology across regions, its use of the PRC government supporting roles, with differences reflecting the governance and political structure of each partner, the economic opportunities available, and the imperatives of geography. It finds that PRC “soft power” over political and business elites in both regions is significant, based more in the expectation of benefit than an alignment of values, and thus can coexist with mistrust of the PRC. It finds that Europe and Latin America can gain insights from examining Chinese engagement in each other’s regions. It also finds that engagement in each impacts the other through the roles of Chinese companies as both competitors and partners of Western European ones in both regions, and through intraregional supply chains and the flows of funds through mergers and acquisitions by China of stakes in those companies.
Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives/ Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, Migration, and International Economic Policy
On June 21, the Argentine National Gendarmerie (GNA, in Spanish) seized more than 4 tons of marijuana in Misiones province, on the border with Paraguay. Authorities found the marijuana during border control and surveillance operations, the GNA reported in several statements.
Chile’s Investigations Police (PDI, in Spanish) seized more than 3 tons of drugs during Operation New Era (Operación Nueva Era) in the Santiago Metropolitan region, Sergio Muñoz, PDI general director, and Rodrigo Delgado, Chilean minister of the Interior, said at a press conference on June 22. With this seizure, the PDI has seized 27 tons of drugs so far in 2021, exceeding the 24 tons seized during all of 2020, Delgado said.