This excellent article from Global Times locates this week’s inauguration of Daniel Ortega for a further term as President of Nicaragua, and the increasingly close ties between China and the Central American nation, within the overall context of a resurgence of the left throughout Latin America. This is occurring in the teeth of intense US pressure and hostility and, the article notes, the Latin American left is characterised by a strong opposition to hegemony. The growth of the left in Latin America therefore aligns with global trends and will lead to stronger ties with China as well as Russia.
Swearing in at inauguration ceremony for his new term attended by envoys from China and Russia and reaffirming cooperation with China, Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega is aligning with current global trends as more Latin American nations elect left-leaning governments that will act in their own best interests, despite continuing US attempts to reinforce its influence by using measures mixing sanctions and aid in what it considers its “backyard.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s special envoy Cao Jianming attended Ortega’s inauguration ceremony in Managua on Monday, meeting with Ortega prior to the ceremony to exchange views on deepening future cooperation, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
By Friends of Socialist China co-editor Keith Bennett
On 9 December 2021, Nicaragua’s Foreign Minister Denis Moncada announced the resumption of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Nicaragua. This was followed the next day by a meeting in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin between Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu and Laureano Ortega, the representative of the Nicaraguan government and a son of President Daniel Ortega, at which the two countries issued a joint communique announcing the re-establishment of their diplomatic relations.
This development is welcome and inspiring news for all those committed to anti-imperialism and especially for all those who care about the prospects for the development of socialism in Central and South America.
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.”
Embedded below is the video (Chinese with Spanish and English subtitles) of President Xi Jinping’s virtual address at the 6th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), held in Mexico City on 19 September 2021. Beneath the video is the transcript.
Dear colleagues and friends,
I wish to extend my warm congratulations on the opening of the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. I also wish to take this opportunity to congratulate you, President López, and the Mexican people, on the 200th anniversary of the consummation of Mexico’s independence.
Ten years ago, CELAC came into being in response to Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries’ efforts to pursue independence and strength through unity. This is a milestone in promoting integration in your region.
On August 30, 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping had a phone conversation with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel. The two sides reaffirmed their strong friendship and support for each other’s path of socialist development. China-Cuba bilateral ties were described has having “become a model for cooperation between developing countries.” We reproduce below two reports of the conversation, one from CGTN and the other from Prensa Latina.
President Xi Jinping reaffirms support for Cuba no matter how the situation changes
At a Ministry of Foreign Affairs press conference on 4 August 2021, the spokesperson was asked for China’s response to the announcement by the US of new sanctions against Cuba. The response demonstrates China’s solidarity with socialist Cuba and its strict adherence to international law and the principles of non-interference, global cooperation.
Q: It is reported that on July 30, the US Treasury Department announced sanctions against Cuba’s national revolutionary police and its top two officials, citing repression of anti-government protests. During a meeting with Cuban-American figures at the White House, US President Joe Biden said that there would be more sanctions, “unless there’s some drastic change in Cuba”. In response, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said on July 30 that “these arbitrary measures, coupled with disinformation and aggression, are used to justify the inhumane blockade of Cuba”. Separately, 30 ventilators provided by the Chinese government to the Cuban government arrived in Havana on July 31. What is China’s comment?
A: China firmly opposes any move to arbitrarily impose unilateral sanctions and interfere in other countries’ internal affairs under the pretext of so-called “freedom”, “human rights” and “democracy”. The recent US sanctions against Cuban institution and officials severely violate the basic norms governing international relations and once again demonstrate to the world the typical US-style double standard and bullyism. As is known to all, it is the economic, commercial and financial embargo of the US that gravely impedes Cuba’s efforts to improve its economy and people’s livelihood, and tramples on the Cuban people’s right to subsistence and development. We urge the US to heed the universal appeal of the international community, immediately and completely lift the sanctions and embargo against Cuba, and immediately stop making excuses to engage in gross interference and destabilization.
Enough with sanctions! The right way is to support. Recently, China and many other friendly countries and international organizations have extended a helping hand to Cuba, aiding the Cuban government and people to fight the epidemic and improve people’s livelihood, illustrating that true friendship stands the test of adversity. China will continue to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, deepen China-Cuba friendly relations and firmly support Cuba’s efforts to overcome the impact of the epidemic, promote economic development and maintain social stability.
Embedded below is a lovely short video featuring former Bolivian president Evo Morales, leader of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), discussing his thoughts on China, the Belt and Road Initiative, China-Bolivia relations, and his impressions of Xi Jinping. The video, produced by Xinhua, first appeared on Twitter.
The best policy is one that supports social equality, that supports, helps, and invests in improving the social and economic situation of the poorest people. China’s policies aim to help countries, peoples, and social sectors that are often forgotten.
China develops, and helps, invests, without any conditions, just to support our development. China is always ready to cooperate unconditionally.
What I understood is that he (President Xi Jinping) treats us brother to brother, as equals. I never felt that they looked at us from above. That is the difference, even with other countries. Again I want to tell you, a population like China, with more than 1,400 million inhabitants dealing with a nation of little more than 10 million inhabitants, treating them as equals, draws my attention. I feel that it is a cultural fact in humanity.
The Belt and Road Initiative is an impressive initiative proposed by China. Not only the Chinese people, but many people (in the world) are also going to benefit from the Belt and Road Initiative. Bolivia’s interoceanic railway project coincides with this Belt and Road plan proposed by China.
I respect, admire, and love the Chinese president, the CPC, and the Chinese people, as they put humanity in their thoughts.