Following a new summit with the US’s closest neighbours, Chinese Communist Party officials in China unveiled a “action plan for cooperation” with countries in Latin America, amounting to a “comprehensive” plan to influence the region and threaten US interests, according to the Washington Examiner.
“The Chinese don’t say ‘We want to take over Latin America‘, but they clearly set out a multidimensional engagement strategy, which, if successful, would significantly expand their leverage and produce enormous intelligence concerns for the United States,” US Army War College research professor Evan Ellis, a former member of the State Department policy planning staff, told the Washington Examiner.
Following a summit with the community of Latin American and Caribbean states, Chinese officials outlined their ambitions. This intergovernmental forum was established in 2011 under the auspices of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who wanted a venue to rival the Organization of American States and challenge US influence in Latin America, and it now stands to provide Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping with a platform to bring together a coalition of leftist and authoritarian leaders friendly to Beijing’s interests, according to the report.
“The Chinese Communist Party and government are actively looking to strengthen their ties throughout the Western Hemisphere, in particular with anti-American elements,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a senior Senate Intelligence Select Committee Republican, said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. “Beijing is seeking to surpass the United States in every sector, and we must take this threat seriously.”
China’s exploitation of ideological fault lines in Latin America was highlighted earlier this month when Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega was rebuked by the OAS General Assembly for overseeing elections that were rigged “were not free, fair, or transparent and have no democratic legitimacy,” opted to close the Taiwanese Embassy in favour of a new relationship with Beijing.
“The Ortega-Murillo regime has announced it has severed diplomatic relations and ended official contact with Taiwan, but the sham election on November 7 did not provide it with any mandate to remove Nicaragua from the family of American democracies,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a December 9 response.