James Mattis: Latin American countries selling out their sovereignty to Russia, China
[Wash Times] SANTIAGO, Chile ‐ A Chinese space force in Argentina, Russian control of Venezuelan gas and South American armies equipped with the latest Chinese and Russian hardware. Until recently, it might have sounded like the plot of a geopolitical thriller in a region once considered America’s backyard.

But this is what Defense Secretary James N. Mattis faced on his visit this week to several South American nations, where economic and military posturing by Beijing and Moscow has been on the rise for the past decade.

The whole reason Mr. Mattis made the trip was to try to "recover lost territory in Latin America," said one foreign ministry official in Argentina, where the U.S. defense secretary stopped Wednesday. "Chinese and Russian influence grew during years in which the U.S. largely abandoned the region," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of his sensitive post coordinating security policies with Washington and other international powers.

Analysts say Chinese loans in recent years have allowed authoritarian leaders to consolidate power in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, and have separately generated corruption scandals that brought down the presidents of Ecuador and Argentina.

But there is also a clear security element coursing through Beijing’s approach. Chinese officials obtained key concessions from Buenos Aires to build a satellite tracking station after engineering a $10 billion currency swap in 2009 that allowed then-Argentine President Cristina Kirchner to stabilize her national currency amid a financial crisis in the country.
Posted by: Besoeker 2018-08-18