Friday, January 18, 2019

Countering China in Latin America

A member of the Venezuelan opposition, Carlos Vecchio, published an op-ed in The Miami Herald about China. It is a more alarmist view than mine, but I agree with his overall point.
First, the United States’ top priority should be to ensure the triumph of democratic norms, human rights and the rule of law throughout the continent. 
Second, the United States should incentivize economic and social development in the region by leveraging its close technological, cultural and commercial ties with Latin America.
It is notable that the Trump administration is doing neither. Democracy is not a priority and in fact the administration is working against anti-corruption efforts in Guatemala. Meanwhile, Trump publicly calls for cutting development aid. Aid is just not MAGA.
To achieve this, the United States could promote summits and scholarships to attract Latin Americans to Silicon Valley and lean on its private sector to support promising technological enterprises abroad.
Bring in immigrants and promote foreign business? That's not MAGA either.
The United States could also promote social development by sponsoring sports partnerships across the region. 
Trump just said no to that in Cuba.

In short, none of these things will happen under the current administration. It is becoming conventional wisdom that the administration's Latin America policy is giving China a major boost in the region.


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