China's Push Into "America's Backyard"

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Shannon Tiezzi of The Diplomat,

The United States has been quite vocal about its “pivot to Asia,” but as Washington seeks to further its influence in the Asia-Pacific, China has been quietly upping its own importance to Central and Latin America. Now China is making a push to further its engagement with countries in the Western Hemisphere, as evidenced by the announcement of a new dialogue mechanism. The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which met in Cuba from January 28 to 29, adopted a statement announcing the establishment of a China-CELAC Forum.

CELAC itself is a fairly new organization, having been established only in 2011, yet it has the potential to be an important political force. Last year, with Cuba as the rotating president, the organization focused on regional cooperation in education, anti-corruption, and natural disaster relief. CELAC also declared Latin America a “peace zone,” with countries agreeing to solve their differences peacefully, through dialogue. Cuban President Raul Castro, who headed this year’s CELAC summit in Havana, called CELAC “the legitimate representative of the interests of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

The China-CELAC Forum, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei, is designed to provide “an important platform for the growth of bilateral comprehensive and cooperative partnership featuring equality, mutual benefit and common development.” Hong added that the establishment of this forum “fully speaks to the shared wish of Latin American and Caribbean states to enhance their overall cooperation with China.” The first meeting is expected to take place later in 2014.

China’s outreach to CELAC is only one part of a growing relationship with the Western hemisphere. China has become the second largest trading partner for Latin America–growth driven in part by China’s demand for natural resources. However, as in the case of Africa, China’s interests in the region are more complex than a simple need for raw materials. Central and Latin American countries are also attractive as markets for Chinese goods, as well as offering the potential for cooperation on the infrastructure projects Chinese construction companies so often undertake around the globe. In 2012, China’s bilateral trade with Latin America as a region increased over 8 percent to $261 billion.

On the political level, since 2001, China has signed strategic partnership agreements with five countries in the region: Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Peru.  As a sign of the region’s importance, Xi Jinping visited Central America in June of last year, stopping in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Trinidad and Tobago.  Several regional leaders have also made the trek to Beijing, including Equador’s Vice President Jorge Glas Espinel, Bolivian President Juan Evo Morales Ayma, and Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer.

Adding an extra level of enticement for China, the majority of countries that still recognize Taiwan are located in Central America and the Caribbean. Though there’s currently somewhat of an unofficial truce on this issue between Taipei and Beijing, long term Beijing may seek to woo these 11 countries away from Taiwan.

Meanwhile, China’s engagement also helps highlight some regional ambivalence towards the United States. CELAC itself was conceived of as an alternative to the Washington-led Organization of American States. CELAC member states include every country in the Western hemisphere expect Canada and the United States, rather pointed omissions. The fact that the most recent CELAC summit was held in Havana only served to underscore a lack of coherent U.S. policy in the region. The U.S. still has in place an embargo on Cuba, which has outlived both logic and usefulness — something Raul Castro, in his speech to the CELAC summit, was not shy about pointing out.

Underlining the sentiments of some in CELAC, Castro warned that CELAC must be on guard against attempts by the U.S. to leverage the region for its own benefit. “The so-called centers of power do not resign themselves to having lost control over this rich region, nor will they ever renounce attempts to change the course of history in our countries in order to recover the influence they have lost,” he said. Partnering with China seems to be CELAC’s way of hedging against U.S. dominance in the region — just as some states in the Asia-Pacific are edging closer to the U.S. in a bid against growing Chinese power.

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DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Shannon downplayed Peru, BIG Chinese money flowing into there as well.



Costa Rica is small, but relatively large amounts of money from China is showing up there as well.  Joining all that Colombian money...

Soul Glow's picture

When you write money, do you mean gold?

Because gold is defined as money - or money by gold - and China has been buying hand over fist; my sources have seen it.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

China is "The Black Hole" when it comes to gold (I wish I had thought up that term, but it belongs to someone else).  Whatever gold goes in, never comes out.  In Peru's case, China is BUYING companies (they kicked off with iron processor HierroPeru years ago).  In Costa Rica, they funded the new soccer stadium, probably recycling US Treasuries...

Soul Glow's picture

China still remembers the Mongols taking their gold - and the West during the Opium Wars.  They will do what they can to preserve their current assets.

infotechsailor's picture

I won a national security scholarship towards finishing my undergrad at Oklahoma State, and a year subscription to StratFor (cut short by their hack attack) for writing about this topic in 2011.

My essay:

If you haven't read 'confessions of an economic hitman', I highly recommend it. Perhaps China will teach the United States some lessons on influencing people with economic ties, instead of simply political and military weapons.


Tyler et al, feel free to post my essay.

FredFlintstone's picture

confessions of an economic hitman...yes, great book. Read it on vacation a few years ago. Used book store near the beach. I will read your essay.

stant's picture

thanks for the link, good read

Sean7k's picture

Your assumptions about regional cooperaton and their threat to the US don't match your conclusions they will provide stability. Decent underclassman work, but edit, edit, edit. You might want to examine CIA and drug actions as they pertain to stability as well. See "Dark Alliance" by Gary Webb ( he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head-twice). Further, all these nations have central banks- you need to start there.

Finally, the US playing the policeman has hardly contributed to global stability, it has merely guaranteed corporate access to global markets. I think we call it persuasion. Good luck!

infotechsailor's picture

Thanks Sean. Keep in mind, i was trying win a national security scholarship. I spent a lot of time writing it. I don't think i have to spell it out for you, but let's just say that i maintained awareness of the political persuasions of the judges while trying to make legitimate arguments. You follow?

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

The Mongols?? Hell, the Chinese don't have to remember back that far. The Japanese did a very efficient job of separating them from their gold less than 80 years ago.

bonin006's picture

Why would china use gold as long as they can use paper? The gold is to keep, paper to trade for resources as long as possible.

kchrisc's picture

It's all sort of amusing, if one thinks about it.

DC US, by way of the FedRes' "printing," has shipped the American industrial base over to China. Making the American people dependent on China.

The Chinese then back stop the DC US by loaning them part of their profits via bond purchases. Making them dependent on China.

The Chinese then "recycle" the DC US' bonds into resources and infrastructure in other countries. Making them dependent on China.

When the music stops I don't believe that their will be a seat for the American people.


"Is it time for the guillotines yet?!"


Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Obama is a communist tool and a lazy, drug-addled chickenshit. Dollars to donuts, the Monroe Doctrine gets shitcanned on his watch.

wee-weed up's picture

Yep, Obama is a ChiCom leader's wet dream!

Atomizer's picture

Fugazi - Steady Diet of Nothing


It's a long time coming,
It's a long way down,
It's long division,
Crack and divide.
This is a parting,
Some separation,
We lay in pieces,
Cracked to survive.
I'm not your villain,
Not your adversary,
I'm not your reason to crack and divide.
It's long division,
Crack and divide

nmewn's picture


I'm not your villain,
Not your adversary,
I'm not your reason to crack and divide.
It's long division,
Crack and divide

Atomizer's picture

Derivatives = Long division

VVVV[below] cock will choke swallowing his balls. We won’t accept Chinese liberation or overlords.

Johnny Cocknballs's picture

I, for one, will welcome our new Chinese overlords.


FredFlintstone's picture

Overlords my ass! A billion peasants plus 300 million pushy midgets with money. Bring it.

fijisailor's picture

Haven't you noticed?  Almost everything you buy is made in China.

FredFlintstone's picture

200 years ago the cotton on your back was picked by a slave.

teslaberry's picture

this is in fact an astute reply. 


being a slave or subject counry producing the goods does not make a country the more powerful country. 


HOWEVER, over time, the power to destroy other countries is obtained most by those countries that PRODUCE. 

200 years ago, the United States was building the engine of productivity that set the stage for the end of the british empire's glory. the british empire still exists but it is nothing really but a shadow of its former self. In another hundred years, the power now retained by the empires holdout oligarchs will be further diluted, and only a few power centers will be left , while the demographic majority of the british isles remains in nothing but shambles. 


IF a country produces and makes the most stuff for consumption---they are building up their human and industrial capital base. not to mention their pile of foreign reserves (which admittedly are mere poker bargaining chips in the long run of history) 


but the idea that china is subjugated to the u.s. simply because she is holding bucketloads of u.s. debt which the u.s. can forcibly debase into confetti---rendering chinese treasury into as impoverished a state as that of the u.s citizenry is false. The chinese treasury buys gold because they know this is the game. and slowly the game is pushed in favor of physical capital -----industries, railroads, universities, gas and oil production , a set of treaties with trading nations that will trade in yuan instead of dollars. ---it is all of these things that comprise physical and social capital that allow for the creation of empires. 

fiat is a symptom of empire and a tool of empire not a cause. the abuse of fiat, is the overusage of a tool of empire, blunting the empires' future power by consuming that power in the present.  


the u.s. is using up its current power hastily. it is VERY conceivable that the world that exists 70 years from now looks very much more like the world that existed 70 years ago. 

a nascent china taking the worlds throne from the u.s. while the u..s replaces, the u.k. in its 2nd' comer status. and the u.k. just regresses back to a completely has been post industrial country like france.  no power to be found amongst its elite, and the underpopulatin fully diluted by immigrants and impoverished, yet hanging onto a thread by government sustenance. 

china would be more than ok with that, so would the u.s. , so would the u.k. , so would the anarchists, and so would the globalists. this kind of predictable shoots and ladders of history would be fine for everyone. because the countreis that produce always get more. the countries that are has beens always regress---and africa still remains a prize for everyeone.



FredFlintstone's picture

Japanese were making some of us piss our pants in the 1980's.

bugs_'s picture

now your sporty trendy smartphone is made by a slave - the ones that don't jump that is.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Blobbing up can not be surrendered.

Signed: AnAnonymous

snodgrass's picture

If the Chicoms were willing to murder 85 million of their own kind, what do you think they will do with you?

Yen Cross's picture

 China , emerging markets are under pressue.  Imagine feeding 1.4 billion people that are funded under an undependable system you've got 1.4$ trillion invested in.

   Reading my comment probably makes you feel like an skeleton!

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Reading your comment makes me glad I had a big dinner!

Atomizer's picture

Food coma is setting in, my pillow is calling my name.



fijisailor's picture

Yeah.  China has offshore petroleum engineers in Cuba learning Spanish so they can drill in the FL straits on the Cuban side.  Now that's really a back yard!!

Antifaschistische's picture DARE those Chinese....leave their own shores, cross an entire ocean to another CONTINENT for God's sake, make friends with OTHER countries through checkbook diplomacy.....and then exploit OIL that's not even under their own soil!!   The NERVE of those colonizing SOBs!!

...and don't think what the US did in the middle east is a parallel to what China is doing.  Because at LEAST in the middle east, the money being made goes to people to truly HATE western non-Muslim civilization.

Yen Cross's picture

    Let's get your claim straigh1. yOU;RE CLAIM IS IMPOSSIBLE.

 wELLS WEREN'T DRIVEN ! during that time period!

  Saudi ARAMCO/ Had not driven well{heads} during that time frame.

 Tell me I'm wrong?

Winston Churchill's picture

South America was the British empires backyard prior to WWI.

The export lines being cut turned it into the US backyard.

History rhyming again.

Ayr Rand's picture

The US is just waiting for the moment to define the new 4000 mile Air Defense Zone, effectively encompassing all of Central America and South America. First, wait until China has invested to develop the mines, etc. There is an order to these things. :)

Sean7k's picture

Their South China sea claims are pretty ridiculous. It just opens up a US response in the Caribbean, but maybe they want to legitimate their claims that way? Tyrants will do whatever they want. 

fijisailor's picture

My brother in law in Bolivia works with the Chinese satellite which is in orbit providing communications services for the country

suteibu's picture

What happened to the Chinese project to build a new canal through Nicaragua?  Chinese ships in the Gulf of Mexico (kind of like American ships in the South China Sea).

hootowl's picture

You put America and China on the same moral plane.  You must have attended a public indoctrination center (public school).

suteibu's picture

American government moral?  Do you even read the content of this site?

Besides, what does morality have to do with the subject of the article?

Sean7k's picture

That plane crashed years ago. US, morals? China, morals? Tyrants don't have morals, just slave populations. Get back to work.

Ban KKiller's picture

Four proposed routes. All ecological nightmares. When I was there the people did not trust the idea or the Chinese. Plenty of Chinese and Japanese built roads though.

whoknoz's picture

The huaghty John Kerry has already declared the Monroe Doctrine passe...or pissed on, in the American vernacular...

Ayr Rand's picture

Kerry proved his cowardice and lack of integrity (in deed and in word) in Viet Nam and consistently ever since. The Monroe Doctrine is only passe until a US administration that is not at war with the US gains power. 

Jadr's picture

Can you please explain how allowing the Chinese to invest in South American countries and trade with them violates the Monroe Doctrine?  The Monroe Doctrine was to stop the colonization and rule of those countries by outside influences, not dictate who they can do business with.

Oh regional Indian's picture

I think you are seeign confused american exceptionalism at work. No one's fault, entire generations were brought to believe the lie.

It's all the shit they put in your head since kindergarden.

incidentally Kindergarden is a German word. Most/all US kids (actually world over) go to kindergarden.

Ponder the implications and then roll that and shove it up a doctrine's arse.

Kinder = Kid = Goat's child.

Baphomet's babies Abound!



TuPhat's picture

You used to have some posts that made a little sense.  What's happened to you Indian?

Kinder does not mean 'kid' or baby goat.  The Kinder goat is a breed of goat started in 1986.  The name Kinder is the breeds name and does not refer to the goats offspring.

hootowl's picture

You can't reason with stupidity.

TPTB_r_TBTF's picture

economic colonialism = colonialism