I just finished skimming through an article titled “China’s growing footprint in Latin America” (Sophie Wintgens, FDI Intelligence, March 10, 2023) and was surprisingly bored. I mean, no one is more excited about what China is doing in Latin America than me, but it has almost become old news.
I’m impatiently waiting for the next really big headline maker. For example, when will China build its first military base in Latin America? When will Mexico and Colombia give the U.S. the boot and ask China to help them fight their drug wars?
In late March, 2023, Honduras severed ties with Taiwan and recognized China. (“Honduras establishes diplomatic ties with China, severs them with Taiwan,” Eric Cheung, CNN, March 26, 2023) This isn’t the story of the year, however. When Taiwan lost recognition from the United Nations in 1971, it had 56 diplomatic allies. When Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016, she had just 22 allies.
Now that Honduras has changed sides, that number is down to 12, seven of which are located in Latin America (highlighted in green in the list below).
- Holy See (Vatican City)
- Marshall Islands
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Which country do you think will switch sides next?
The growing competition between the U.S. and China is also encouraging other countries to thumb their noses at the Monroe Doctrine. (“Spain Pitches Closer EU-Latin America Ties,” Catherine Osborn, ForeignPolicy.com, March 31, 2023) Hallelujah! All red-blooded capitalists should appreciate the virtues of competition.
Of course, we have to keep our eyes on the CIA and the Pentagon. You never know when Uncle Sam will plot another coup or military invasion. If that happens, I suspect it won’t be a rerun, however. Instead, I suspect Latin American nations will band together, and China could even come to an embattled country’s defense.