BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin is intensifying its relations to the new Latin American “Pacific Alliance” and, thereby, heightening tension on the subcontinent. The Pacific Alliance, a network of four Pacific bordering Latin American nations, has a neo-liberal orientation and is closely allied with the EU and the USA through free trade agreements. It is currently growing rapidly stronger and could, possibly also threaten Brazil’s standing as the subcontinent’s most powerful economic power. However, it is mainly aimed at Latin America’s Venezuela-inspired ALBA alliance, struggling for autonomous development, which includes strong socially oriented policies. “The strategy of the Pacific Alliance” is “not just commercial,” it is more “a political and military strategy [seeking] to reinstall the Washington Consensus,” according to a minister of ALBA member Bolivia. At the beginning of the month, Germany obtained observer status at the Pacific Alliance, with which the German industry is expanding its trade relations. Alongside its increasing tensions on the Latin American continent, the alliance is helping the West prepare for the conflict of the century – between China and the USA. Continue reading
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