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[Politics] Russian expansion in Latin America… A threat to the American order?


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Pese a la crisis con Ucrania, Bolsonaro visita a su amigo Putin | El Mundo  | DW | 15.02.2022

Russia has sought to expand its influence in Latin America, especially since President Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine and Russia's subsequent international isolation. The way Russia expands its influence in Latin America is comparable to its tactics in Africa, where it has primarily sought influence through arms deals, the use of its mercenaries, electoral interference and disinformation.

General John Kelly, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, saying: “Periodically since 2008, Russia has pursued a greater presence in Latin America through propaganda, the sale of weapons and military equipment, anti-drug agreements, and trade. However, under President Putin, we have seen a clear return to Cold War tactics. As part of its global strategy  Russia is using power projection in an attempt to erode America’s leadership and challenge its influence in the Western Hemisphere.”

Although Russia’s engagement in Latin America is not comparable in volume to China’s, in recent years Russia has significantly deepened its influence in Latin America. It is especially worrying that Russia has not only strengthened its relations with old Latin American partners  such as Cuba and Nicaragua,, and with Venezuela. Some actions similar to the Cold War. Yet it is now  trying to forge new and stronger relations with countries traditionally oriented towards the United States such as Brazil and Argentina.

Evidence resides in Putin, just before invading Ukraine, met with the presidents of Brazil and Argentina. At the same time while signing a security cooperation agreement with Venezuela.

Ryan C. Berg, director of the Americas Program at  (CSIS) wrote in March:

“This is all reminiscent of when then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev paid an impromptu visit to the region during the 2008 crisis in Georgia, intending to show that Russia was not isolated internationally. Russian aggression in Europe is often followed by a military escalation in Latin America, such as when it sent Tu-160 (nuclear-capable) military bombers to Venezuela for exercises in 2008, 2013 and 2018.”

Dr. Evan Ellis, Research Professor of Latin American Studies at the US Army War College Institute for Strategic Studies testified in July:

“Recent demonstrations of Russia’s hostile intent toward the United States and our partners in the Western Hemisphere include Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov’s suggestion in January 2022 that Russia could deploy military forces to Venezuela or Cuba.  The signing of a pact to increase military cooperation with Venezuela, and the reauthorization of Nicaragua  for a limited number of Russian troops and equipment to enter the country for training missions and other forms of support is a an examples of Russia’s attempts

While the reception of Russian military activities has been unique to anti-American authoritarian regimes, the willingness of some others to support and engage with Russia has been concerning. Prime examples include the symbolic and rhetorical support that the governments of Alberto Fernández in Argentina and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil gave to Vladimir Putin, each while visiting him when his army was poised to invade Ukraine. Alberto Fernández came to offer his Argentine government as Russia’s “gateway” to Latin America. In February, Argentine President Alberto Fernández made it clear that his country would be happy to trade its orientation toward the United States for Russian cooperation. He told Putin:



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