In this Focus: Latin America 2019 Report, we focus on Venezuela, and the geo-political influences of Russia and China throughout the region.
So much insanity is going on in the world of American politics right now, that we often overlook news about Latin America. We skirt by it as if it lacks of relevance, if there's an outlet that produces any at all. But, you'll be surprise at how much of the politics in America is, or should be, influenced by what is happening down South!
Suddenly, something like the Venezuelan collapse begins, and we start paying attention but, we don't have the whole story about what has been happening around the region to put things into context; because we haven't been paying attention.
I aim to fix all that in this report, so you will have a good picture of the events that have taken place, the actors involved, and their motivations.
Overview of Latin America
Ever since the Monroe doctrine of 1823, the U.S. has seen countries to the south of us as neighbors. Times have changed over the last couple of decades and chaos rules in many areas.
A lack of focus on these countries, while attention and resources have been placed on numerous wars in the middle east, have allowed this turmoil to fester, and subsequently, countries like China and Russia to lay stake to part of our yard. It's much worse than we thought, especially with China.
You have heard all about the plight of Venezuela, repeated in the headlines non-stop of late. You've heard how socialism has destroyed yet another nation massively rich in resources; People are eating their dogs, etc.
Typical Socialist results. Of course, the left says that they didn't do it "right" and that we can do it "better" here in the U.S. No, the problem with Venezuela, is that they did it absolutely right.
FOCUS REPORT: An Indepth Look at what the Mainstream Media Is Not Reporting
This is part of our investigative series "Focus Reports" where we take you into a deep dive into areas that the mainstream media, at least in the US, is not reporting on. Our team has been tracking developments in Latin America for some time. With significant developments in Venezuela, it is now time that we give you a better understanding of the entire geo-political situation in Latin America.
There is a high potential for military action in our near future so having a good understanding of the entire situation is critical.
Some recent Focus Reports are primers for this report. To help you understand Latin America and all of it's players, their goals, and motivations, we had to write separate reports for each of the major players. I highly recommend that you take the time to review the primer reports for Russia, China, and Mexico (along with the Venezuela Political Timeline) first. You can find them in the link below as well.
To view all FOCUS REPORTS CLICK HERE
Our investigative team has been tracking this developing situation for a while, and it's quite disturbing, especially because it's been unreported, or scattered reporting. Our goal is to bring all of that together for you in this one report.
My only thought as to why this has gone so under reported is that if people knew what we are about to tell you, it would be a reason to build a huge, thick, impenetrable wall, much more significant than the current fence proposed.
Here are some Key Takeaways from the report:
- Key Countries in the region; Venezuela, Brazil, Columbia, and Mexico
- Russian, Chinese, and even Iranian geo-political and economic influence in the region has grown, but they all have different goals and motives that we must understand.
- Though Russia will be greatly weakened by a loss of the Maduro regime, there's others like Bolivia, that help them keep a foothold.
- Mexico, and other countries, move toward socialism as Brazil and Columbia move away, though there has been a general shift to move towards more freedom.
- Socialist expansion in countries like Mexico, opens opportunities for our enemies as close as our southern border.
- Cuba remains Cuba
- Venezuela is in the throws of a socialist meltdown. People are starving. A new government has formed, but the current socialist Madura regime refuses to concede as he maintains control of the government's military forces. Lines are drawn, sides have been taken, and the threat of military confrontation in Venezuela looms large.
- Iranian military and terrorist expansion is greater than we realized.
- We must refocus our attention on Latin America and develop a new strategy with a long-term approach to reclaim the support of our neighbors, and to stabilize the region.
- A border wall is most certainly needed, not just for immigrants, criminals, and terrorists, but against a possible invasion of hostile forces from volatile governments and the access they provide our enemies.
Now, that you have gotten all caught up with the political timeline, let's look at the current situation in Venezuela.
With a collapsing socialist economy, Venezuela suffers from massive hyper-inflation, shortages of food and medicine, and just about every other hardship you can imagine as the socialist regime of Maduro collapses in on itself.
Over 3 million Venezuelans have been forced to flee to neighboring countries like Brazil and Columbia due to the humanitarian crisis that has seen people die of starvation, and the political crisis that has regime opposition leaders locked up, and the citizenry being shot in the streets.
Maduro has refused to allow humanitarian aid into the people and has closed the borders with Brazil and Columbia, as both sides increase their military presence.
Russia and China in Venezuela
Russia and China both have significant investments in the Maduro regime. Both have been expanding their economic, military, and geo-political presence throughout Latin America, but their gem of a foothold lies with the Maduro regime. This is especially true for Russia.
Russia has moved in military personnel and equipment, though the total amounts are unknown to us. China has also just moved in 120 troops. The lines have been drawn and sides have been taken in Venezuela . The threat of possible military action to remove Maduro looms large.
The U.S. presented a resolution to the U.N. to support free, fair, and open democratic elections in the Country, and to ensure the free-flow of humanitarian aid to the people. As expected, the Chinese and Russians used their veto power on the resolution, proving yet again how worthless the United Nations is.
Hedging their bets?
China and Russia have invested billions in the socialist country and need to protect their investments. Both however, have met with opposition leaders in an attempt to hedge their bets.
For interim president Guaido to work out some deals with Russia/China regarding their investment, might help to move this towards a peaceful resolution. The indication thus far, is that the Guaido regime would not honor current agreements with Russia and China. But, there is more to it that just the financial investments.
Geo-Political and military advantage of Venezuela
Russia and China do not want a pro-American government installed in Venezuela. The current socialist regime is their foothold in Latin America (LA), for arms sales, economic investments, gold, oil resources and contracts, and a strategic geo-political statement.
The geo-political statement is that we can come to the United State's back door and compete with them. Arms sales and military bases give them strategic points from which they can challenge the military power of the U.S.
The United States has long enjoyed friendly neighbors to the North and South, with two huge oceans to protect her from her enemies.
These footholds that Russia and China are establishing in Venezuela, and other areas in Latin America, begin to erode that geographical advantage.
While Russia and China often find similar ground to join on, they do have different objectives which we will get into shortly. The two are actually in competition with each other in Venezuela, as they are throughout the Latin American region.
Cooperation in Anti-Americanism
Their cooperation is found in keeping an anti-American regime in Venezuela and propagate the same sentiment throughout the region. Keeping the U.S. out, so they can fight over the spoils between themselves, but it doesn't stop there.
Putin isn't finished yet, but he knows the Maduro regime probably won last much longer. He is strengthening ties with other socialists in the region, like Bolivia.
A grim outlook for Maduro
Moscow continues to provide the socialist regime of Maduro with crucial financial and military support. However, reports suggest there is increasing concern among Kremlin officials about how much longer Maduro can last, as the majority of Venezuelans rally round interim President Juan Guaidó, the country’s legitimate head of state.
In addition to Venezuelans, dozens of nations – most in Latin America – have refused to do business with Maduro and instead accept Guaidó as the nation’s president.
In addition to Bolivia and Venezuela, Putin has also maintained close ties to the communist dictatorships in Cuba and Nicaragua, providing them with vital political and military support in a bid to expand Moscow’s influence over Latin America and the world as a whole.
Latest News On Venezuela:
Other late breaking news in Venezuela has to do with massive power outages and internet outages. Maduro claims these are attacks on his crumbling infrastructure from outside the country pointing the finger at the U.S. None of these claims have been confirmed, though possible.
One thing we do know, its that Venezuela has endured many outages in the past. He may just be blaming his crumbling infrastructure problems on others. At this point, there is no way to tell for sure.
Just at the time of this release, Maduro is claiming that the U.S. is preparing for a false flag attack in Venezuela. Other stories below.
Read more on Venezuela
Read more in-depth about Russia in the link above.
Russian Influence and Goals in Latin America
As we always say, to understand anything, you must get to the motivation. To assess the situation properly, we need to understand who Russia is and what their motivation for being in Latin America is.
Russia is a proud, nationalistic country. Really, isolationist. They are not the imperialists hell bent on global domination, that the world has made them out to be, at least not at this point anyway.
They really seek to "Make Russia Great Again", much like the slogan used by President Trump in regard to the United States. There's nothing wrong with that in itself, though we often disagree with their methods.
All of Russia's geo-political moves and alliances are for the purpose of boosting it's geo-political presence on the world stage, which boosts it's economic vitality through economic investments in resources and arms trade.
That's their end game. To achieve this, they engage in significant banter and military rhetoric, though history has proven they have very little bite. To understand this point of view, we have to go much deeper. Please read the Focus: Russian report below
Read More In-Depth About Russia Here
Russian motivation in Latin America
Russia is a proud "nationalistic" country that seeks to improve it's economic situation and it's geo-political voice around the world. It's motives though are mostly economic as we described above and in our Focus: Russia report in more detail.
To compete against the United States in the world arms trade market, they must oppose the United States. The Deep State has forced Russia over the decades to turn to the enemies of the U.S. in order to propagate arms sales to sustain it's economy and defense. China is catching them quickly in regard to arms sales, and may become a more significant competitor than the U.S. to Russia in some regards.
It will be interesting to see how that plays out in the end, or if a possible door will open to change our posture and relationship with Russia in the future. But, for now, it's everyone against the U.S.
They have no desire for global domination, and are in no way an economic/military power house in need of immediate regional concern. Though they have made significant strides in technological advancements that have outpaced the U.S., and they must always be respected as a nuclear power.
Numerous reports of Russia placing special forces, and military hardware, in Venezuela to protect Maduro from an assassination, or capture, attempt have been hitting the news lately. But, Russia in no way would want to challenge the U.S. in a regional conflict of any proportion here.
But moving military equipment and personnel into Venezuela is a direct challenge to U.S. supremacy in the region. We have seen this before, but don't expect Russia to give up too quickly on this. They have a substantial financial investment in the Maduro regime in Venezuela.
No, this is not like Syria. President Trump did not want to be in Syria, and did not want to effect regime change there. He does in Venezuela.
Many countries around the world have recognized the new regime in Venezuela, it's just a matter of loosening Maduro's hold on the country's military assets. Trump will not back down from that.
However, with news breaking of China also putting troops in Venezuela, although only 120, this may embolden Russia by having China as an ally.
Protecting their investment
While Russia would prefer the geo-political advantages of a Maduro regime, they have met with Guaido, and the newly recognized political government of Venezuela, to work out the possible security of their investments should things go that way, signaling that they are covering themselves for either eventuality.
Russian oil giant Rosneft’s prospects in the country have been threatened by the opposition’s (Guaido Regime) warning that, once in power, it will not honor the recent deals between Rosneft and Maduro’s government.
There are historic debts dating back to Hugo Chavez, Maduro’s predecessor. Chavez turned Venezuela into a major buyer of Russian arms in the Western hemisphere but the payments for many of those arms deals are long overdue. Similarly, there are outstanding debts in the food and manufactured goods sectors.
Moscow has also become a major Venezuelan lender, with the Kremlin and Rosneft handing the cash-strapped country around $17 billion in loans and credit lines since 2006, according to calculations made by Reuters. If the current regime in Caracas does not survive this crisis, it will be very difficult, perhaps impossible, for Russia to recuperate its investments. With such a grim outlook for Russia in Venezuela, many at home are calling for Putin to cut his loses and move on.
Russia losing ground
The collapse of Maduro’s government could alienate Russia from the region. Today, even the most loyal supporters of the socialist Bolivarian Revolution in Latin America agree that Venezuela is on the verge of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.
Against this backdrop, any attempts by the Russians to keep Maduro in power through military support could turn the entire continent against Moscow.
Hypothetically speaking, any talk of Russian military support would be met strongly by the United States. While Washington reluctantly tolerated Russian intervention in the more geographically-distant Syria, it would not accept such a move in its backyard.
Many of the Russian alliances in Latin America were founded on personal top-level diplomacy and symbolic rhetoric rather than structural economic or cultural ties. These alliances have faded away as political leaders have come and gone.
Maduro symbolizes Russia’s opportunistic way of forging alliances through interpersonal connections in the region and his defeat would therefore be especially hard to swallow.
Russia will beat it's chest
With Russia, you will always get a lot of political banter and the beating of the chest, in military terms. And the news media will eat this up, and as always, claim we are on the brink of another World War. This just plays into the hands of the Deep State, and the military industrial complex, that need to keep Russia as an enemy. For that reason, they likely always will be.
But, there is another power that is of much greater concern, China. We will get to them in a few minutes, but first, Iranian terror is next.
Iran: Terror In Latin America
Iran’s state-owned media has extensively reported on its military involvement in Latin American countries, including Mexico, Cuba, Ecuador, Chile and Venezuela.
A strong naval presence
Tehran is laying the groundwork to escalate its naval presence on the continent. These developments ought to be viewed with alarm for several reasons, including the fact that Iran is currently ranked fourth in the world after North Korea, China and the US in terms of naval strength.
The commander of Iran’s navy, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, said it “will berth in friendly states in Latin America and the Gulf of Mexico in the near future... We are not faced with any restriction for deploying in the seas, and anywhere we feel that we have interests to develop ties, we will certainly deploy there and we enjoy this power too.”
Iran’s plan to expand its influence and military presence in Latin America dates back to the mid-1980s.
Iran’s concerted efforts to expand its influence in Latin America is part of its larger agenda to heighten its military presence in international waters in order to achieve its imperialistic and hegemonic ambitions.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei recently emphasized the need for the navy to be a major player in the region and beyond. Washington's lack of focus on the region has allowed this to happen.
Terror in Latin America
Iran exploits Latin American countries in order to dispatch fighters (specifically from Hezbollah), create terror cells and train militias on the continent.
This access also provides an opportunity for Iran to foster anti-American sentiment, train more terrorists, and attack the United States through our porous Southern border.
Its increasing involvement in Latin America also provides economic gains for Tehran. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif met with senior politicians of six Latin American countries to discuss trade and boosting relations to a “whole new level.”
This would help Tehran evade international pressure and sanctions. Some Latin American governments, such as in Ecuador and Venezuela, are delighted to allow Tehran to increase its influence on the continent.
Iran even has observer status in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, an intergovernmental organization that promotes the social, political and economic integration of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, that promotes socialism and anti-American sentiment.
Iran’s increasing military presence in Latin America poses a security threat not only to the US, but to the world.
With Iran, Russia, and China all forming relationships throughout Latin America, there is no doubt a greater need for a border wall than just purely immigration, or even crime. The need for a physical barrier to keep out a hostile invading force, and terrorists, is necessary.
Border wall in the United States.
The fact is that the Democrats have promoted a policy that has exposed the weaknesses of our immigration system, and the in-security of our Southern border, for their own political benefit, and placing these benefits above the security of the American people.
Other countries are catching on too: Mexico has reported immigrants from as far east as Africa using this route to get into the U.S.
Surely if they know, then our enemies like Iran, will use this mechanism to insert terrorists like Hezbollah into the United States. A recent report indicated that, in just one week U.S. Border Patrol apprehended people from 44 different nations, and that it is estimated that 25,000 were able to get away.
Just imagine if a country like China really wanted to do some damage to the U.S.; they could just start offloading people to cross our southern border, using the ports available to them, just like the hoards that are crossing now. What mechanism is there to keep this from happening? The good will of China? This will lead to chaos and an economic meltdown in the United States.
We need more than just a border wall
A Border Wall won't solve all of our problems. We need to modify the immigration laws that allow for this "catch-and-release" system to take place in our country. That's not likely to happen anytime soon, since it's just the way the Democrats want it. As long as they control the House, you won't see that change.
But, a border wall will help funnel people to a point, where immigration officials can screen them and document them. Hopefully, not allowing the worst of them in, i.e. criminals and terrorists. It will also relieve the stress of trying to cover so much ground at one time, physically, along the border.
More focus can then be placed on those trying to go around the entry points, and over/under the wall to gain entry. These will more generally be your criminal, gangs, drug cartels, and terrorists.
Without a wall, these issues will only get worse and more and more people from around the world, and our enemies, use this to exploit our weaknesses. A problem exacerbated by Democrat policies, that really only serve to enhance the need for the wall.
The Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot on this one. I just hope that we don't have to see people die before American lawmakers get behind the policies of the President by supporting the wall AND changing the immigration laws.
China In Latin America
Read More In-Depth On China
FOCUS REPORT: China
China is hellbent on global economic and military domination.
"China is learning from the mistakes made by the Soviet Union. The Soviet's brand of communism suffered from a major fault when President Ronald Reagan exploited the communist regime's inability to generate the necessary revenue to compete with a capitalist powerhouse. This was the reason for the fall of the Soviets. The U.S. just outspent them.
But, President Xi has learned from this. Through various means (mostly unfair and illegal), he has created an economic powerhouse of his own. The goal of China is global domination, in their own words, and unlike the Soviets, they currently have an economy that can do it.
President Xi has instituted a hybrid version of communism and capitalism. This increases the countries economic power while still keeping the companies, and the people, under the control of the government. It gives the people just enough, so that they have something to lose. This keeps the people from revolting, and appeased, at least for now. But, it has been effective so far.
In recent decades, and certainly since President Xi took power in 2013, there has been a strong consolidation of power within China, to an elite few, at the top of the communist party."- From the FOCUS: China Report
Express says,"Xi said the Communist Party will strive to fully transform the People’s Liberation Army into one the world’s top militaries by 2050 and emphasised the need to modernise its combat capability.
He said: “A military is built to fight.”
The president outlined his vision in a wide-ranging three hour speech at the start of the twice-a-decade Chinese Communist Party Congress."- Read more on China! FOCUS REPORT: CHINA
In case you haven't already figured it out from the excerpts above from the Focus: China report; In President Xi's own words before the Chinese Communist Party Congress, he stated that the goal was economic and military dominance of the world.
President Xi has made himself "President for life" or as President Trump likes to refer to him as "King". This enables the Chinese to take a long-term approach to this, and many other issues, with coherent stable policies. This is unlike the U.S. where short-term limits yield many short-term plans and ignore long-term problems.
They have laws that require all of their citizens, and companies, around the world to be a part of their intelligence gathering network, or in other words, spies.
They are incredibly aggressive. I'm sure you have read stories about various companies, agents, or other actors being caught spying, collecting data, and stealing intellectual property from major U.S. companies. Much of this is classified defense intelligence and details of our military technology that they have been very successful at duplicating.
They even have economic policies that force companies who wish to do business in China, to turn over their intellectual property in the process. Many agree because the market is that big. Generally, this is used to create nationally owned, or backed, companies that will drive those outside companies back out.
The DOD in a review of Hillary Clinton email situation, found that ALL of her emails on her private server were being copied off and sent to a Chinese owned firm in Manassas, Virginia.
Whether this was done with Clinton's knowledge or not, it's obvious that China is very aggressive and bold.
(Maybe we could ask China for the missing 33k emails? Though, I'm sure such a question would lead to all new investigations; Trump/China Collusion.)
Senator Feinstein's driver of 25 years was also found to be a Chinese operative. 25 years that driver passed along any conversations he overheard. But, there's so much more!
China's own Huawei Corporation was also recently in the news. They are China's leading tech company operating in markets all around the world. They are the second largest cell phone manufacturer in the world, ahead of Apple and just behind Samsung.
It has been discovered that they have embedded spy tech in all of their phones. Collecting data and calls from users all over the world. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has forbidden any of their employees from using these phones.
Huawei is also heavily involved in the networking (IT) industry all over the world, including dominating in Latin America. They have also been found to plant spy tech into all of their IT hardware, effectively allowing them to spy on anyone or any piece of data that travels through that hardware, anywhere in the world.
There is a huge battle right now to be the global leader in 5G technology. I know a lot of people might not like 5G, but it is coming whether we like it or not, and China wants to own the market. If you can control this, you can control the world; and that is the plan!
Currency manipulation and why Trump is important
Currency manipulation, slave wages, massive trade advantages, very aggressive spying, and stealing of intellectual property is all driving the Chinese economy and it's military build-up.
Trump is important because of what he is doing through trade. He is not only trying to boost our economy, but he is also knocking the Chinese back down the ladder a bit.
The Chinese were on a incredibly fast pace to overtake the U.S. as the global economic leader, but Trump has changed that. The Chinese are now down 38% while the U.S. is up 50%, as President Trump described in a recent speech.
He can allude to these tactical things, but as long as trade negotiations are ongoing, he can't openly say what his whole agenda is, for obvious reasons. Just keep this all in mind when you hear him say certain things, now you'll have a frame of reference for what it is that he is talking about.
You can get more detail on all of these things in the FOCUS: CHINA REPORT
Buying a diversity of companies all over the world
Frankly, China has been buying companies at an astonishing pace, all over the world, including the United States. From our movies studios to pork producers. More on this in the links below.
China's Belt and Road initiative/ One Belt, One Road (OBOR)
One of the major drivers of the infrastructure investment is the Belt and Road initiative (BRI). Launched in 2013 by President Xi Jinping as One Belt One Road (OBOR), the initiative has increased in funding (aiming at US$1 trillion) and expanded in scope, now including projects in over 70 nations. This investment abroad constitutes an ambitious foreign policy, and one with deep geopolitical implications.
China in competition with Russia
China is actually in competition with Russia in an attempt at a takeover of Latin America from U.S. influence. Though the two often come together in opposition to the U.S., here they compete. Driving out the U.S. is their primary goal, then they can fight with each other over the resources and other economic opportunities.
China faces some challenges
2018 was challenging for China. Many social and political changes are taking place throughout Latin America. Some are moving toward more socialism which would support the interests and access of China, while others are moving away, like Brazil and the currently unknown outcome of Venezuela.
Ariel Slipak, professor of economics, National University of Moreno, Argentina
"China will continue with its Latin America policy based on advancing three geo-economic aims: to expand extractive projects, which help China meet its need for food and energy security; to boost big infrastructure projects, especially the bioceanic corridors that reduce the costs of transporting goods towards the Asia-Pacific; and to continue to expand its market share of manufactures, particularly those in industries in which the US, Europe and China compete and will continue to do so. These include robotics and technologies associated with post-fossil fuel energies.
Latin American governments across the political spectrum see in China a market and a source of funding [loan shark style] and pursue policies that link foreign exchange revenues with well-being and prosperity. If we talk about challenges, we have to identify who faces them.
I don’t think Latin American governments take into account the interests of popular majorities when discussing the relationship with China. Based on a common agenda, we have to take into consideration that the type of extractive projects that represent most of China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America are large-scale and in many cases involve the displacement of indigenous groups and labour conditions in decline compared to previous eras.
Infrastructure projects facilitate the extraction of resources so it’s not necessarily an infrastructure that integrates the Latin American people. Chinese investment and finance in most cases lack technology transfer and the trade flows weaken the region’s biocapacity, since exports require a large amount of water and energy.
The challenge seems to be to build an agenda for international relationships from the bottom up, not the other way around."
The raping and pillaging of indigenous people and nature in Latin America should be enough to even get the leftist Democrats on-board with kicking China out of LA.
But, they are more concerned with not giving the President a "win" on this, or anything else. Trump has negotiated a much better deal than NAFTA for the United States. We'll see if it actually gets approved by Congress or if Trump will have to revert back to tariff's to try to achieve a more balanced trade situation for the economic security of the country.
Chinese Infrastructure projects in Latin America (LA)
Over the past decade, China has become a leading lender and builder of infrastructure projects in the developing world. With extraordinarily high savings and a declining investment rate at home, China has reached out to invest in a diverse array of infrastructure projects from West Africa to the Amazon.
Some Latin American countries are desperate for any sort of arrangements to help boost their economies, but as you read above they are typically short-term interests. The long-term results of such arrangements with China are all too the advantage of China, as they literally "rape" these countries of their resources and worsen the conditions for the indigenous peoples.
The Chinese are global bullies, and Latin America proves no different. They are taking natural resources like oil and gold, without regard for the environment or any other "western norms" or laws. They bully governments, or pay them off, to get done what they need to do without such regard to the people, the environment, or the betterment of the countries they are dealing with.
This has left many of the people of Latin America less than satisfied with the ongoing relationship with China. China has had a number of infrastructure projects. Some have gone well, others have been disastrous. They will have to fix their approach if they want to continue the expansions that they have planned.
"With more than 100 Chinese-backed civil engineering projects already in design or construction representing a total of US$60 billion, the region seems to have found in China a supplier that can fill its long-standing gap in energy and transportation infrastructure."
"Our analysis of Chinese infrastructure investment shows that these investments advance both the Chinese government’s interest in strengthening bilateral relationships with countries with which they already have high levels of trade, as well as the financial interests of Chinese firms that seek to expand their overseas activities."-source: Building Development for A New Era: China’s Infrastructure Projects in Latin America and the Caribbean
Thanks to Beijing’s loans, Chinese corporations are building dams and hydroelectric power plants in the Amazon and Patagonia. They are laying thousands of kilometers in rail tracks to reduce freight transportation costs and connect populations in Brazil, Peru, and Venezuela. China’s development banks are even financing a state-of-the-art nuclear energy plant in Argentina. In what has become the most ambitious civil engineering project in recent decades (although one plagued with challenges and uncertainties), a Hong Kong-based billionaire has been granted the authority to build a canal through Nicaragua, connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans to compete against the Panama Canal.
Geo-Political Influence Through Financial Dependency Relationships-Loansharks
As you can see above, China is rapidly expanding it's influence throughout the region. They are taking advantage of any systematic or economic failures to move in and finance the recovery of some of these countries, but at a high price.
The people may benefit in the short-term, but unless China changes the way it works in the region, the people will be worse off in the long run. But, creating these types of economic trade and financial investments is the backbone of China's plan around the world, and most certainly throughout Latin America.
These relationships become dependent on each other, but mostly those countries become dependent on China as they become mired in debt. That influence creates problems for the U.S. geo-politically.
The U.S. has always been the leading actor over the decades in Latin America. It is important to try to control the areas in your own backyard. But with a declining U.S. economy in the previous decade, and poor tactics in dealing with LA, the U.S. influence in Latin America has also declined.
China's rising economy, in turn, has yielded and increase in influence not only in LA but around the world. Trade partnerships and financial investment often leads to geo-political allies as well.
The geo-political military advantage of Latin America
The U.S. has enjoyed a long standing safety from it's most powerful enemies by having the separation of two large oceans and the world's biggest and most powerful Navy to patrol them.
China looks to change all of that. China's goals in Latin America, and around the world, are not just about controlling global resources and economic opportunities, but also for military advantage.
With interconnected trade deals and financial dependence on China, these Latin American countries will also need the reliance of Chinese weapons and defense. China will want to protect it's investments, and trade routes, from other outside geo-political actors, like Russia, but primarily against the United States.
It will spread it's military influence to the backdoor, within immediate striking distance, of the U.S. homeland. Air bases, and naval bases, will give a secure area from which China can conduct military operations up to and as close as our southern border with Mexico.
There are multiple reports of Chinese bases in Mexico. Populated with military equipment, but only enough troops to man the gates (though there is no real evidence available for this)....just another reason for a U.S. border wall.
China's defense manufacturing in Latin America
China’s attempts to increase its security presence within Latin America partly reflect Beijing’s desire to increase the sophistication of the types of Chinese manufactures it would like to sell in the region.
A large part of the growth of China’s economic footprint in the region has consisted of Chinese arms companies with close relationships to the Chinese military, such as the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), China National Electronics Import & Export Corp (CEIEC) and China’s North Industries Corporation (NORINCO), all of which have been aggressively developing their position in Latin America.
But the expansion of China’s security presence is also taking place within the context of Beijing’s intention to expand its military’s global reach in parallel with the rapidly expanding definition of China’s national interests. According to a study just released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), China's weapons exports globally have mushroomed in the past several years, with China overtaking Germany, France and the United Kingdom to become the world's third largest arms exporter, behind Russia and the United States.
This fact needs to be understood, in light of the belief of China's leadership, that the growth of of China's military globally reach is a key factor in the growth of China's comprehensive national power.
China’s Defense White Paper, which was made public last year, broadcast this belief, and signaled that Chinese leaders see the growth of the influence of China’s military around the world as an integral part of China’s ability to shape strategic outcomes and influence the choices of other nations....in their favor.
Chinese resources to these states have allowed such virulently anti-American regimes as Venezuela’s to invite Iranian Quds forces to Latin America, and have indirectly enabled them to give basing rights to Russia, whose goal in gaining such rights is to challenge the United States in the Western Hemisphere, and thus to enhance Moscow’s freedom of action in its own neighborhood.
A growing military footprint and arms sales
China’s security footprint in the region has grown from a small base, expanding from the provision (through either sale or gifting) of small arms, clothing, and field hospitals, to trucks and munitions, to the co-production of light helicopters to, more recently, the sale of Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS’s) to Peru this past summer.
China has also sold surface to air missiles (SAM’s) and towed guns to Bolivia, and SAMs and anti-tank missiles to Ecuador.
Venezuela, by far the largest customer for Chinese military goods to date (as well as the largest Latin American purchaser of Russian military hardware). Since mid 2000’s Venezuela has purchased a variety of Chinese military hardware, including infantry fighting vehicles, short range air to air missiles, training aircraft and radar, as well as Shaanxi Y-8 medium transport and Harbin Z-9C anti-submarine helicopters.
In terms of dollar amounts, according to SIPRI, Chinese military sales to the region have risen from almost nothing in 2005 to $100M in 2010 (of which approximately 90% was accounted for by Venezuela alone, with most of the remainder being accounted for by Ecuador), and to a new record high of $130M in 2014 (of which approximately 85% was accounted for by Venezuela, with the rest being accounted for by Bolivia). All of these numbers have only mushroomed over the last several years.
China has also successfully initiated joint military maneuvers, such as its participation in bilateral special operations training in Peru in 2010, and in joint naval maneuvers in October 2013 in which two Chinese guided missile frigates undertook joint exercises with Chile, Argentina and Brazil.
Telecommunications has a key role in China's domination plan
In the area of communications, the quickly growing role around the globe played by Huawei, which has close ties to China’s intelligence services and whose presence in Latin America has exploded in recent years, compliments China’s growing military footprint there by expanding the reach and capabilities of Chinese intelligence.
As just one example of its large presence, Huawei has built six out of the seven 4G mobile phone networks in Brazil. China has also been active in the launch of communications satellites for Venezuela, Bolivia, and Brazil, with further satellite launches planned for each of those three countries, and the development and launch by Beijing Xinwei, a Chinese military communications company, of a satellite for Nicaragua, under the rule once again of Washington’s perennial foe Daniel Ortega.
They are now looking to dominate 5g infrastructure globally, and they already have a solid foothold throughout Latin America.
An executive at the Chinese tech giant Huawei was arrested in Poland on suspicion of spying on behalf of the Chinese government, according to multiple reports.
This is the second high-profile arrest of an employee at Huawei in two months. The company's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was detained in Canada in December and faces charges that she violated US trade sanctions. Read more on this here.
Another area of defense cooperation that Beijing has actively pursued has been exchanges between senior military officials from China and Latin America.
Such exchanges began with ALBA states but have also included Brazil, Mexico, Suriname, and Chile. These exchanges have become institutionalized by China in the past four years, with Beijing hosting in late 2012 the first “China-Latin America High-Level Forum on Defense,” which included senior defense officials from Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador and Paraguay.
The second such forum was held in 2014. Providing an indication of what Beijing hopes to gain from its increasingly close defense collaboration in the region, an Argentinian defense official was quoted in 2014 as saying that part of the purpose of the forum was “to foster understanding and to promote cooperation” between China and Latin American partners in areas such as China’s territorial claims on Taiwan and in the South China Sea.
Some of the most recent news regarding China is also disturbing. China has made great strides in it's technological advancement, mostly due to spying, stealing of intellectual property, and corruption within the U.S. that has sent some of our greatest tech overseas.
But, they still lack the shear numbers to compete, and that will take a little time yet. One way to overcome such deficiencies is by using the commercial shipping fleet.
China doesn't have the sheer number of ships to really challenge the U.S. globally yet, but if you read the in-depth focus report on china, then you know, by law, ever citizen and company in China is required to do the work of the government.
Latest news on China
They are now outfitting commercial cargo ships, and tankers, with cruise missile systems. This poses a whole new challenge for the U.S. and the world. More on this here.
Chinese have just deployed 120 soldiers into Venezuela in support of Maduro. Read more on this here.
U.S. Response in Latin America
The United States cannot depend upon good fortune to reduce China’s security presence in the Western Hemisphere and preserve the American position. Given China’s role as a major economic partner in the region, its growing political influence, and its intention to build itself into an important security partner within the region, the challenge to the United States is clear.
United States neglect of Latin America
The U.S has been neglecting Latin America over the most recent decade. This neglect has contributed to China’s ability to increase its influence at Washington’s expense.
This neglect has also laid bare the lack of recognition in Washington of Latin America’s strategic importance to the United States. Dr. Evan Ellis of the US Army War College argued in testimony to the US Congress on Sino-American competition in Latin America that, "This government must do more to advance a vision of what it stands for, and why the US approach, if not always perfect, is the hemisphere’s best bet to advance development, prosperity and human dignity."
Whether Washington actually makes a concerted effort to follow Dr. Ellis’ advice is doubtful – it is, nevertheless, what is needed. The long-term commitments needed are plagued by short-term officials.
SOUTHCOM statement to lawmakers
Adm. Craig Faller, the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) chief, and Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) leader, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about their mission and goals in their respective area of responsibility (AOR).
Adm. Faller declared in SOUTHCOM’s 2019 posture statement:
"China utilizes the same predatory, non-transparent foreign lending practices [in Latin America] it has implemented around the world to exert political and economic leverage in certain countries. China has pledged at least $150 billion in loans to countries in the hemisphere, and 16 nations now participate in the Belt and Road Initiative."
All across Latin America, China is “investing in over 56 ports” primarily through OBOR (Belt and Road initiative), he told lawmakers. China will most certainly use these ports to berth naval vessels as well as for shipping the resources of Latin America back to China.
China’s OBOR-linked debt trap (Loansharking) diplomacy is rapidly ensnaring Latin America, the admiral said, noting in the posture statement, “China has accelerated expansion of its Belt and Road Initiative [in Latin America] at a pace that may one day overshadow its expansion in Southeast Asia and Africa.”
Beijing is in Latin America “in force and they have a long term vision economically and militarily. Our best counter is education and being there,” the admiral told lawmakers.
A new long-term approach is needed
We discuss in the other reports how being a "King" or "President for Life", gives you the advantage of having a long-term approach to things over the short-lived and seemingly chaotic changes in political ideologies here in the U.S.
As some of these countries become indebted to China, and with integrate trade deals, our security relationships with them will flounder. Sharing of information will get cut off as U.S. Commanders warn that we don't know where the intelligence information is going.
We must win the telecommunications war
As we described above, China's IT communications goals have ambitiously built the vast majority of the telecommunications infra-structure throughout the region over the past decade with deeply embedded spy tech in all of the hardware, and are aggressively pursuing 5G globally.
Under U.S. President Donald Trump, the American military is prioritizing combatting the rise of key strategic competitors, China and Russia, over other threats. But decades of neglect in Latin America have left the U.S. in a precarious position. It will be an uphill battle to reclaim these countries from China and Russia in the region.
The U.S. is pushing back with military presence
The US has been stepping up its involvement in military exercises in Latin America in recent years, partly in response to growing regional influence by Russia and China. The US has long supported right-wing governments in the region to protect its interests and block Soviet influence; more recently, they’ve been a bulwark against the Pink Tide.
"When it comes to China and Russia, we are looking at cooperation where we can and pushing back aggressively where we must," US Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told Foreign Policy in a November 2018 interview. "We keep a close eye on their activities globally, but certainly we keep an eye on their activities [in Latin America]."
There has been an increase in military presence and participation in joint training exercises but no noticeable increase in budgetary allocation for the region, though the allocations are unknown for the latest CR.
Our participation and expenditures in foreign wars must end to improve our security close to home
Fighting multiple wars in foreign lands for decades has caused a lack of attention here in our own backyard, as described by the "Monroe Doctrine". This is also a budgetary issue. Trillions have been spent fighting these wars overseas. Hopefully, now with wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan coming to an end, more resources, budgetary allotments, and attention can be placed on our neighbors to the south.
Allowing Russia and China to make in-roads in Latin America while we are focused elsewhere is something we can not allow. In the fight against illegal immigration, drugs, crime, etc., we must have partnerships with these countries that help economically, as well as in their defense, to create prosperous nations.
If we help them, we can help ourselves. But, this must be done correctly. There's a number of people around the world that blame the crime, drug cartel wars, chaos, and economic shortcomings on the previous attempts by the U.S. to intervene in situation in Latin America.
Coming in heavy handed with a military style solution to every problem is not the answer. Good trade deals and economic opportunities must be fostered long-term, along with continuing military and defense strategies. China has been able to make in-roads because of it's economic investments.
A thriving and free Latin America provides for a more stable set of neighbors to the south, but practices in the past must be revisited, and learned from, and new approaches created to facilitate a long-term solution to the growing instability found throughout many countries in Latin America.
We must continue to pressure hostile regimes while we rebuild relationships with others
The U.S. has been putting pressure on Venezuela and promoting it's self-inflicted socialist collapse. You can read more about that here:
Part of this approach to putting pressure on the Maduro regime in Venezuela includes fostering relationships with Brazil that has turned more conservative in it's democracy in recent elections, as well as, placing importance on another of Venezuela's neighbors; Columbia
Columbia is now an ally in NATO
Few even realize that just last year, Columbia was brought into NATO, as a partner. Yes, it's interesting that a "South American" country would be brought into the "North Atlantic Treaty Organization", even as a "partner", but it's strategic.
This "partnership" gives them the benefit of NATO protections without the burden of financial participation for the struggling country. This partnership also allows the U.S. government and it's allies in NATO, to establish a security presence in Columbia, right next to Venezuela.
Venezuela has responded by closing borders and spreading it's military assests along both it's borders in a defensive posture. But, with trade embargos and financial sanctions, the U.S. and partners are squeezing the Maduro regime. Only time will tell how long they can hold out.
Latin America Summary
There's no doubt that decades of neglect have led to China, Russia, and even Iran getting footholds throughout Latin America by any means necessary.
With U.S. involvement in wars in the Middle East coming to a close, I'm hopeful that renewed attention can be placed in our own backyard. I believe a economically viable and stable Latin America is not only vital to the security of the United States but to it's economy as well.
More and more people are fleeing chaos revenged countries and coming to the U.S. in an attempt to flee the crime, corruption, and horrible living conditions that plague so many countries.
Walls and laws
A border wall is most certainly needed as our enemies have secured a greater military presence even right at our porous border. They are surely using this now, to infiltrate and undermine our government and society.
But, immigration laws will also need to be changed as they are exploiting loopholes to take advantage of a system the Democrats promote for their own political means.
Even further, is the need for establishing a new long-term commitment to truly re-engage with out neighbors to the south. Not just militarily, but as partners. That doesn't mean give away the farm, but foster relationships, economic trade, and defense that will promote a stable society.
It will require a whole new approach than what we are using now. A more inclusive and comprehensive long-term policy that governments will be able to rely on. In this divisive and ever changing political climate in the U.S., that stable long-term approach may be hard to come by.
It will most certainly have to start with ending the seemingly never-ending wars in the Middle East and making the United States economically strong again. We are certainly on our way to doing that, along with rebuilding our military for the challenges we face in a more technological age. We have fallen behind in this regard, but at least we are heading in the right direction.
I would really like to see the President come out with a new Latin American policy outlining the importance, the relevance , and the desire to foster meaningful relationships with our southern neighbors, and a long-term plan to accomplish this. I believe such a thing would be a political advantage as well in showing a desire to foster these relationships as opposed to just building walls.
Bringing China down a few notches
In concert with making the American economy great again, is the need to bring China down a few notches. We must hold their feet to the fire, not only with our relations with them, but their relations around the world.
The glut for cheap Chinese goods is not just a U.S. problem, but one that is the world over. As long as people place the short-term desire for cheap goods above the long-term prosperity of their own people and economies, then no progress will be made in stopping China.
This is why they have been allowed to do this for so long. All of the corruption, spying, manipulating of currency, slave wages, and human rights issues, must be dealt with.
It will cause everyone some short-term pain. Prices on goods will rise, but the long-term effects for the economies of the world will be great. With President's only focused on four years at a time, it is rare to find a President who actually wants to take this on.
Know that Trump is doing it, and even when he says how much he likes and admires President Xi, remember he is in negotiations. He knows what's going on, but can't reveal his cards at the table, but if you listen closely to his speeches, you can pick up on all these key points.
Developing a new approach
I think it would serve the nation and the President well, to devise a whole new approach to Latin America. An approach that includes a wall and immigration reform, but also a comprehensive re-engagement with our neighbors.
One that fosters friendships, economic trade, vibrant democratic republics, and defensive strategies. We must engage with the people through meetings, forums, and conferences, to warn against totalitarianism and socialism.
All of these things will reduce crime here. It will reduce illegal immigration at the root. This plan will help drive out our enemies like Russia and China and foster a free Latin America which will provide us with more allies and a defensive barrier.
This will also increase trade and economic opportunities throughout LA and the U.S. A comprehensive plan is needed to deal, not just with the results of what has happened up to this point, but one that addresses the causation in order to correct this and keep it from continuing to happen in the future.
Thanks for making it this far!
Below are the "Primer Reports". A more in-depth look and the major players involved in Latin-America and around the world. Further down you will find additional resources for more information on LA.
As always, I want to thank you for your support and for sharing these article and reports. It helps a great deal! I also want to give a special thanks to our investigative journalist known as "M-Squared" who keeps a close eye on Latin America for new developments that have flown under the radar. He has contributed to the resources of this article. Thanks M2!
More Resources for on Latin America: