According to Robert Valencia, China is vying for greater economic influence in Latin America, to include possibly constructing and operating an alternative ‘Panama Canal’ through Nicaragua. One unanticipated consequence of this burgeoning US-China rivalry, Valencia observes, is that it might push Latin American countries closer together.
During the first weekend of June, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California to discuss cyber espionage and territorial claims in the Pacific Rim. While tension on these topics has hogged the headlines, the fight for influence in another area could be even more important—Latin America. Other emerging markets in Africa, where China has an overwhelming influence due to foreign direct investment in mining and oil, also offer economic opportunities, but Latin America has an abundance of natural resources, greater purchasing power, and geographic proximity to the United States, which has long considered Latin America as its “backyard.” Continue reading
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Hoping for a Historical Turning Point
CARACAS/BERLIN (Own report) – In the prelude to the German Chancellor’s visit to Latin America at the end of next week, government advisors in Berlin are predicting that the continent is facing a “historical turning point.” According to a new analysis by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), it can be expected that the “resignation” of the seriously ill Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez will provoke serious upheavals – not only in Venezuela. Cuba also could be seriously affected, due to its dependence upon Caracas. Without Chávez, Alba, the international alliance that is resisting US-American and European hegemony on the continent, would be lacking a leadership, capable of achieving its objectives, says the SWP. The think tank sees herein a window of opportunity for Berlin. It can be expected that in the coming reshuffle, Brazil will be able to reinforce its standing in South America. In Berlin, this is seen as advantageous, because Brazil is one of Germany’s most important Latin American allies. In addition, writes the SWP, this opens up new opportunities for Berlin in the “promotion of democracy” and political “counseling” in Latin America. Continue reading