China’s silent invasion of Latin America has expanded from a focus on access to critical natural resources to effectively reconfiguring the region’s economic architecture and environment—progressively taking control of strategic physical and digital infrastructure, value chains, energy sources, and telecommunication networks, notes Julio Armando Guzmán, a former Peruvian presidential candidate and fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
This may seem like good news for Latin America’s development in terms of investment, technology, and public financing, if not for the less auspicious effects of China’s footprint on the rule of law, democracy, and national autonomy across the region. In the coming years, Latin America may very well transition from democratic recession to democratic depression, he writes for TIME:
The U.S. and Latin America were once like an old married couple, their relationship comfortable, if flawed; their bickering no indication of weakness in what they shared: a set of values and principles that united the family. But now, that romance is being challenged by a charming outsider, and Latin America, long taken for granted, is tempted. The only way to rebuild the marriage is through honest dialogue, mutual respect, accountability, and transparency. RTWT