This article by Carlos Martinez, which first appeared in the Morning Star of 4 December 2021, discusses China’s economic engagement with Latin America in recent decades; debunks claims that this engagement is a form of neocolonialism; and concludes that China’s solidarity with Latin America is an important support for sovereign development in the region.
In the last two decades, economic links between Latin America and the People’s Republic of China have been expanding at a dizzying rate. Bilateral trade in 2000 was just 12 billion USD (1 percent of Latin American’s total trade); now it stands at 315 billion USD. In the same time period, China’s foreign direct investment in Latin America has increased by a factor of five.
Since the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, 19 of the 33 countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region have signed up to the China-led global infrastructure development strategy. Infrastructure projects have been a particular focus for Chinese firms. Writing in Foreign Policy in 2018, Max Nathanson observed that “Latin American governments have long lamented their countries’ patchy infrastructure.” China has “stepped in with a solution: roughly $150 billion loaned to Latin American countries since 2005.”Continue reading China plays a crucial role supporting progress and sovereignty in Latin America