China stands with progressive Latin America

Two recent events served to underline the close and developing relations between China and progressive Latin America.

As part of a regional tour, Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Latin American Affairs, Qiu Xiaoqi, visited Nicaragua from June 25-27.

Meeting Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada on June 25, Qiu said that since the resumption of diplomatic ties more than six months ago, bilateral relations have been developing rapidly and flourishing with all-round progress. China, Qiu noted, “firmly supports Nicaragua in safeguarding its sovereignty, independence and national dignity and independently choosing its development path and governance model.”

For his part, Moncada said that Nicaragua “is willing to be a trustworthy brother and partner of China. The Nicaraguan side thanked China for its selfless help and is ready to seize the huge opportunities brought by China’s development and create more benefits for the Nicaraguan people. The Nicaraguan side thanked China for speaking up for Nicaragua in the international arena and will work with China to safeguard international fairness and justice as well as the rights and interests of developing countries.”

Meanwhile, on June 28, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone conversation with his Venezuelan counterpart Carlos Faria, coinciding with the 48th anniversary of the two countries’ establishing diplomatic relations.

Wang Yi said that the Chinese side thanks Venezuela for standing firmly with China and speaking out for justice. China will, as always, firmly oppose external forces’ interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs under any pretext, firmly support Venezuela in safeguarding national sovereignty and social stability and support the Venezuelan people in choosing a development path suited to their national conditions.  He added that the trend toward a multi-polar world, economic globalisation and greater democracy in international relations is irresistible. China is ready to work with Venezuela to stand on the right side of history, uphold international fairness and justice, safeguard the common interests of developing countries and jointly build a community with a shared future for humanity.

For his part, Faria extended warm congratulations on the forthcoming 101st anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, hailing the CPC as a great political party that holds high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics and has always been committed to serving the Chinese people.

The following reports were originally carried on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada Meets with Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Latin American Affairs Qiu Xiaoqi

From June 25 to 27, 2022, Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Latin American Affairs Qiu Xiaoqi visited Nicaragua. On June 25, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada met with visiting Special Representative Qiu Xiaoqi in Managua. The two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common concern. Chinese Ambassador to Nicaragua Chen Xi attended the meeting.

Qiu Xiaoqi said that since the resumption of China-Nicaragua diplomatic ties more than six months ago, bilateral relations have been developing rapidly and flourishing with all-round progress in political, economic and trade, and cultural cooperation. China firmly supports Nicaragua in safeguarding its sovereignty, independence and national dignity and independently choosing its development path and governance model. China is ready to strengthen synergy with Nicaragua and promote fruitful practical cooperation across the board. In the face of global challenges, the two countries should take the implementation of the Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative as an opportunity to strengthen coordination and cooperation in international affairs and jointly build a more peaceful, secure and prosperous world.

Moncada said, the rapid development of bilateral relations since the resumption of diplomatic ties more than six months ago fully proves that the resumption of diplomatic ties between Nicaragua and China is a correct decision that accords with the historical trend and serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples. Nicaragua will unswervingly abide by the one-China principle and is willing to be a trustworthy brother and partner of China. The Nicaraguan side thanked China for its selfless help, and is ready to seize the huge opportunities brought by China’s development and create more benefits for the Nicaraguan people. The Nicaraguan side thanked China for speaking up for Nicaragua in the international arena, and will work with China to safeguard international fairness and justice as well as the rights and interests of developing countries.


Wang Yi Speaks with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Carlos Faria on the Phone

On June 28, 2022, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone conversation with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Carlos Faria at the latter’s request.

Wang Yi said that today coincides with the 48th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Venezuela, and our phone conversation is just at the right time. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China-Venezuela relations have remained rock-solid regardless of changes in the international landscape. The leaders of the two countries have established solid mutual trust and friendship, providing important political guarantee and strategic guidance for the development of the China-Venezuela comprehensive strategic partnership. China is ready to continue to deepen political mutual trust, pass on the traditional friendship and enhance mutually beneficial cooperation with Venezuela.

Wang Yi said that the Chinese side thanks Venezuela for standing firmly with China and speaking out for justice on Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and human rights issues. China will, as always, firmly oppose external forces’ interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs under any pretext, firmly support Venezuela in safeguarding national sovereignty and social stability, and support the Venezuelan people in choosing a development path suited to their national conditions. The Chinese side will continue to provide assistance within its capacity to the Venezuelan side in fighting the pandemic.

Wang Yi pointed out that China and Venezuela should continue to strengthen solidarity and coordination in multilateral affairs, safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the two countries, practice true multilateralism, and safeguard the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order underpinned by international law. China appreciates Venezuela’s active support for President Xi Jinping’s Global Development Initiative (GDI) and stands ready to strengthen cooperation with Venezuela to jointly forge a global development partnership and well implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The trend toward a multi-polar world, economic globalization and greater democracy in international relations is irresistible. China is ready to work with Venezuela to stand on the right side of history, uphold international fairness and justice, safeguard the common interests of developing countries and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.

Faria said that under the guidance of the two heads of state, the Venezuela-China comprehensive strategic partnership has made great progress and is full of vitality. He thanked China for providing strong support to Venezuela in its fight against the pandemic. Venezuela firmly supports the one-China principle and the principle of “one country, two systems”, firmly supports China in safeguarding national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and stands ready to work with China to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in innovative ways. China is playing an increasingly important role in the international arena. The Venezuelan side speaks highly of President Xi Jinping’s GDI and other initiatives and is ready to deepen communication and coordination with China within the frameworks of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative and the Group of Friends in the Defense of the Charter of the United Nations to jointly uphold multilateralism. In particular, Faria extended warm congratulations on the 101st anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in advance, hailing the CPC as a great political party that holds high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics and has always been committed to serving the Chinese people.

Cuba-China cooperation leads to vaccine breakthrough

We’re pleased to re-publish this important article by Sara Flounders, posted in Workers World on 7 June 2022, about the progress made by a Cuban-Chinese cooperation project towards a universal coronavirus vaccine. Sara explains that these two socialist countries are far better positioned than their capitalist counterparts to work together on projects of long-term value to humanity, because their social systems are centered on meeting human need, as opposed to maximizing private profit. The article goes on to detail the outsized contribution made by China and Cuba to suppressing the pandemic in the developing world, as well as the ongoing and deepening cooperation between the two countries in a number of crucially important areas. Sara concludes: “The growing scientific cooperation of China and Cuba represents a hopeful future for humanity. Global problems can be solved. What is required is economic planning, cooperation and sharing of scientific knowledge and technology.”

Cuba and China formally announced June 2 that they have filed for joint patent for a Pan-Corona vaccine. The new vaccine, a collaboration between the biotechnological sectors of the two countries, is the first patent for a single vaccine effective against the many variants of COVID-19.

News of the jointly developed vaccine is particularly exciting because of the two countries’ cooperative approach in a field that is highly competitive, secretive and totally profit-oriented in Western capitalist countries.

Breakthrough in emerging virus protection

The Pan-Corona vaccine was announced to be effective against present variants of COVID-19 and thus of value in the current pandemic. 

But its strength is that it could also be effective against the appearance of new pathogens belonging to this family of viruses, noted Eduardo Martínez Díaz, president of the state-owned BioCubaFarma Business Group. (telesurenglish.net, June 3)

The Pan-Corona project is based in a joint biotechnological research and development center, operating since 2019 in the city of Yongzhou in Hunan province, and led by experts from Cuba’s Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB). Dr. Gerardo Guillén Nieto, the center’s director of Biomedical Research, explained the project arose at the request of the Chinese and had the approval of Cuba’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment. The equipment and laboratories at the Yongzhou center were designed by Cuban scientific personnel. (Radio Havana Cuba, June 3)

The two countries focused on coronaviruses because of the global pandemic and because this is the family of viruses most likely to jump from animals to humans. This phenomenon, called zoonosis, was the cause of previous epidemics such as the 2002 SARS outbreak and the 2012 MERS infection — both serious respiratory illnesses. 

Continue reading Cuba-China cooperation leads to vaccine breakthrough

‘Summit of the Gringos’ set to be a lonely affair

The following article, by Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez, is a slightly expanded version of a piece written for Global Times and published on 1 June 2022. Carlos discusses the forthcoming Summit of the Americas and the public relations crisis it is creating for the US, with a significant number of key politicians in Latin American and the Caribbean refusing to attend, in protest at the unilateral decision by the US to exclude Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. The article concludes that the US should give up on its idea of Latin America as a “back yard”, and instead follow China’s example, developing an international relations strategy based on mutual respect, mutual benefit, equal treatment and non-interference.

The Ninth Summit of the Americas is due to take place from the 6th to the 10th of June in Los Angeles, the first time it has been hosted in the United States since President Bill Clinton convened the inaugural Summit in Miami in 1994. It comes as Joe Biden, 16 months into his presidency, is working on multiple fronts to rebuild a stable US-led imperialist alliance following four erratic years with Donald Trump in the White House.

When Biden announced in his first major foreign policy speech as president that “diplomacy is back” and that the US would “repair its alliances”, this was merely a promise to carry forward the century-old project of domination and hegemonism. So much is obvious from the proposed expansion of NATO, the fierce attempts to weaken Russia, the creation of AUKUS, the revival of the Quad, the flagrant encouraging of Taiwanese secessionism, and the recent launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity – a comically hopeless attempt to isolate China.

In this context, the Summit of the Americas 2022 provides an opportunity for the US to reassert its leadership in what it has considered its “back yard” for the last 200 years.

However, things are not going to plan. In response to a unilateral announcement by the US that the socialist governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua would not be invited to the Summit, multiple leaders in the region declared they refuse to attend. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stated bluntly: “If everyone is not invited, I will not go.” In spite of a concerted lobbying effort from Washington, López Obrador stuck to his position, asking: “Is it going to be the Summit of the Americas or the Summit of the Friends of the US?”

Bolivian President Luis Arce echoed the sentiment of his Mexican counterpart, saying that he would not participate if Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua were excluded. Likewise Xiomara Castro, the recently-elected leftist President of Honduras stated: “If all the nations aren’t there, it isn’t a Summit of the Americas.”

It may well be that the entire CARICOM – an intergovernmental organisation with 15 member states in the Caribbean – boycotts the Summit, with Ronald Sanders, Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the US, asserting that “if the United States insists on not inviting Cuba to this meeting, it will immediately cause the CARICOM countries not to attend.” Biden is so concerned about the possible complete collapse of the Summit that he dispatched his envoy Christopher Dodd to Argentina to convince President Alberto Fernández to attend. Fernández did not confirm whether or not he would go to the Summit, but he did take the opportunity to reproach Dodd, saying “it’s shameful that the US maintains a blockade against Cuba and Venezuela.”

It is impressive to see so many Latin American and Caribbean leaders standing united in defence of their collective dignity and rejecting what senior Venezuelan politician Diosdado Cabello has characterised as a “summit of the gringos.” This is a reflection of a rising and irreversible trend towards sovereign development; an assertion of both independence and regional unity.

The Monroe Doctrine, first articulated by President James Monroe in 1823, denounced European colonialism and interference in the Western Hemisphere, not on the basis of any anti-colonial principle but as an assertion of the US’s exclusive rights to exploit the continent. Since that time, the US’s relationship with the countries of Central and South America has largely been characterised by neocolonialism, and the region’s land, natural resources, labour and markets have been subservient to the needs of US monopoly capital.

When the US has been unable to secure its interests through quiet pressure and economic coercion, it has not hesitated to use force. The 1954 coup d’état in Guatemala, overthrowing the elected government of Jacobo Árbenz, was engineered by the CIA (an interesting historical footnote is that this incident helped to radicalise Che Guevara, who was living in Guatemala City at the time). In 1961, the US orchestrated an invasion of Cuba, with a view to overturning the Cuban Revolution. The US backed brutal military coups in Brazil (1964), Chile (1973) and Argentina (1976). Following the Sandinista Revolution, the US financed and supported right-wing narco-terrorist militia in waging a decade-long civil war in the 1980s.

This tragically violent dynamic has not remained in the distant past. In 2002, the CIA backed a coup attempt against the Chávez government in Venezuela. The US supported the constitutional coup against Dilma Rousseff’s progressive government in Brazil (2016) and the coup that brought down the Evo Morales government in Bolivia (2019). Meanwhile, the US maintains harsh unilateral sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

But as hard is it might try, the US cannot stem the tide of multipolarity. The peoples of the region are simply not willing to accept the Monroe Doctrine any longer. Speaking in January this year, President Biden clearly thought he was presenting Latin America a valuable gift by upgrading its status from “back yard” to “front yard”. However, the peoples of the region are no longer willing to be any type of yard.

China’s rise has been an important boost to Latin America’s attempts to break its dependency on the US, with bilateral trade increasing from just 12 billion USD in 2000 to 315 billion USD today. Of the 33 countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region, 21 have signed up to the Belt and Road Initiative. As veteran US peace activist Medea Benjamin noted recently: “China has surpassed the US as the number one trading partner, giving Latin American countries more freedom to defy the United States.”

With the expansion of investment, trade, aid and diplomatic ties with China, Latin America has a historic opportunity to climb the ladder of sovereign development, to improve the living standards of its people, and to affirm its status as a key player in an increasingly multipolar world. For this reason the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, speaking with Hu Jintao in Beijing in 2006, spoke of China’s relationship with Latin American as a “Great Wall against American hegemonism.”

As Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin stated recently, Latin America is neither a front yard or a back yard of the US. “And the Summit of the Americas is not the Summit of the United States of America.” If the US wants to improve its relationship with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, it should follow China’s example and adopt an international relations strategy based on mutual respect, mutual benefit, equal treatment and non-interference. In short, it should give up on the Project for a New American Century and come to terms with humanity’s trajectory away from hegemonism.

Rapid progress in China-Nicaragua relations

Since China and Nicaragua resumed their diplomatic relations towards the end of last year they have made rapid and comprehensive progress and in the process have also boosted China/Latin America relations more generally and specifically the unity and cohesion of the progressive forces.

Two events in late May served to underscore these developments.

On May 20th Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a telephone conversation with his Nicaraguan counterpart Denis Moncada, in which he noted that since the resumption of diplomatic relations, “we have enabled bilateral cooperation to get off to a good start at a fast pace and of a high standard.” Wang Yi further noted that “both China and Nicaragua are committed to safeguarding fairness and justice, opposing unilateralism and power politics, and supporting greater democracy in international relations.”

For his part, Moncada noted that, “Nicaragua hopes to deepen practical cooperation with China in various fields, strengthen coordination and collaboration with China in international affairs, and jointly oppose hegemonism, advance multipolarity in the world, and safeguard  world peace and security.”

This was followed on May 24th by the first joint webinar for cadres of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) of Nicaragua, with the opening ceremony addressed by Song Tao, Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee (IDCPC), and Gustavo Porras Cortés, a member of the national council of the FSLN and Speaker of the National Assembly of Nicaragua.

Song Tao noted that “Sharing a profound traditional friendship, the CPC and the FSLN are the pioneers in promoting the relations between our two countries and have made active efforts in bringing China-Nicaragua relations back to the right track.”

For his part, Porras noted that “The FSLN values the friendly relations with the CPC, and hopes to strengthen exchange with the CPC, learn experience and practice of economic development and poverty alleviation from the CPC, and take a development path suitable to Nicaragua’s national condition… The Nicaraguan side is ready to work with the Chinese side to uphold multilateralism, oppose hegemony and external interference, and push for world peace and development together.”

The following reports were first published on the websites of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the IDCPC.

Wang Yi Speaks with Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada on the Phone

On May 20, 2022, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone conversation with Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada.

Wang Yi said, since the resumption of diplomatic relations between China and Nicaragua six months ago, we have enabled bilateral cooperation to get off to  a good start at a fast pace and of a high standard. This fully demonstrates  that the resumption of diplomatic relations between China and Nicaragua  follows the general trend of history and the times, and serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples. China regards  Nicaragua as a reliable and important partner, firmly supports its  sovereignty, independence and national dignity, and respects the development path it has independently chosen. Nicaragua adheres to the one-China  principle, opposes any form of “Taiwan independence” and firmly supports China’s position on issues concerning China’s core interests. China appreciates that.

Continue reading Rapid progress in China-Nicaragua relations

Former Brazilian president compares US neoliberalism with China’s people-centered development

We are pleased to republish this summary of former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff’s keynote speech at our event 21st Century Socialism: China and Latin America on the Frontline. The article is written by Carlos Martinez and first appeared in Global Times. President Rousseff’s speech can be read in full here.

Friends of Socialist China held a webinar on March 19 themed “21st Century Socialism: China and Latin America on the Frontline”, with a keynote speech from former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff.

Rousseff, a trained economist, gave a detailed analysis of rising tensions between the US and China, starting with Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” in 2011. She noted that, while the Trump administration was responsible for the sharpest escalation of anti-China hostility, the Biden administration has thus far failed to meaningfully improve the situation.

Rousseff compared the US and China’s performance in a number of key areas, starting with the Covid-19 pandemic. The US “has failed to reduce the deadly effects of the disease in the country”, whereas China has been able to get the virus under control and provide enormous numbers of vaccine doses to Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.

Continue reading Former Brazilian president compares US neoliberalism with China’s people-centered development

Elias Jabbour: Understanding the possibilities the Chinese socialist experience offers for humanity

Below is the video and text of a speech by Elias Jabbour, economics professor and author of Socialist Economic Development in the 21st Century: A Century after the Bolshevik Revolution, at our recent event 21st Century Socialism: China and Latin America on the Frontline. Elias discusses how China’s model of socialism and its engagement with global markets is creating an invaluable space for the countries of Latin America to assert their sovereignty and more forward on the long road towards socialism.

I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to be with friends gathered in this group. In fact, one of the great honors I’ve had in my life has been speaking to comrades who have political clarity about how things work in the real world.

In Brazil and Latin America, we are still a long way from a level of political consciousness on the left to be capable of perceiving the centrality of China and the possibilities that the Chinese socialist experience offers for humanity.

I used to say that China has been noted for building the most advanced social and human engineering of our time. It’s in that country, although still embryonic and taking its first steps, that socialism presents itself as a clearer historical form.

Furthermore, I have said that the current historical form in which socialism presents itself is still far from abstract concepts, among them – for example – the abolition of private property.

Continue reading Elias Jabbour: Understanding the possibilities the Chinese socialist experience offers for humanity

Dilma Rousseff’s keynote speech on US-China relations and their impact on Latin America

We are pleased and honored to present the English translation of Dilma Rousseff’s keynote speech at our recent webinar, 21st Century Socialism: China and Latin America on the Frontline. Dilma Rousseff, former President of Brazil, provides a detailed analysis of the New Cold War and the current state of US-China relations, comparing and contrasting the US neoliberal model with China’s people-centered model of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. President Dilma reiterates the need for Brazil to integrate with the rest of Latin America, to break its dependency on the US, to develop a truly sovereign foreign policy, and work closely with China – a country which is increasingly leading in new technology and which is willing to work with other countries on the basis of equality.

Brazil during the Workers Party governments always had a position of absolute independence with regard to its relations with all other countries. And it prioritized its strategic relation with the BRICS countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Now we find ourselves in an international framework of conflict.

Since the financial crisis in 2008, friction between China and the United States has grown. Such frictions, which emerged during the Obama administration with the Trans Pacific Partnership (which was an attempt to counter China), became more aggressive during the Trump administration. After the Biden administration took office, China-US relations, while more “diplomatic” in appearance, became even more conflictual.

When comparing China and the US in their COVID response, economic recovery, education, science and technology, domestic governance and global governance, it seems fair to say that the balanceof competition is increasingly tilting towards China.

In the response to COVID, the disappointing result in the US contrasts sharply with the situation in China, which has had greater control over the spread of the virus, reducing the number of infections and deaths. The US government, on the other hand, has failed to reduce the deadly effects of the disease in the country. China has also actively participated in international cooperation, supporting the COVAX Facility and the World Health Organization (WHO), proposing to make COVID vaccines a global public good, and providing vaccines and PPE to other countries. These movements evidenced China’s growing “soft power”.

Continue reading Dilma Rousseff’s keynote speech on US-China relations and their impact on Latin America

Ben Norton: The US is trying to break Latin America’s growing relations with China and Russia

We’re pleased to republish this article by Ben Norton, originally carried in Multipolarista, which summarizes the remarks he made to our recent webinar, 21st Century Socialism: China and Latin America on the Frontline. Ben highlights the various ways in which the US-led New Cold War is playing out in Latin America, particularly in terms of successive US administrations attempting to disrupt the growing links between the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, on the one hand, and China and Russia on the other.

The United States has turned Latin America and the Caribbean into a key battlefield in its new cold war on China and Russia.

Washington’s hybrid war on Beijing and Moscow took shape in 2018, when the Pentagon published a National Defense Strategy identifying the two Eurasian powers as the biggest “threats” to US national security.

Following the attacks on September 11, 2001, the US government had shaped its foreign policy around a so-called “war on terror.” But Defense Secretary James Mattis announced in January 2018 that the Pentagon had changed its priorities, and “great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security.”

The US director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, echoed this perspective in a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing this March. Summarizing the US intelligence community’s 2022 Annual Threat Assessment report, Haines said China and Russia constitute the top “threats” to Washington, and she emphasized that Beijing in particular “remains an unparalleled priority for the intelligence community.”

In this Cold War Two, Latin America has been caught in Washington’s crosshairs.

After Russia invaded Western ally Ukraine on February 24, the US military responded by threatening China and Venezuela.

On February 26, the US Navy sent a guided-missile destroyer warship through the narrow Taiwan Strait, in a move that the Chinese government condemned as an “adventurist” and “provocative action” seeking “to bolster the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces.”

Continue reading Ben Norton: The US is trying to break Latin America’s growing relations with China and Russia

Margaret Kimberley: Countries struggling against US domination are inevitably turning to China

Below is the video and text of a speech by Margaret Kimberley, Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report, at our recent event 21st Century Socialism: China and Latin America on the Frontline. Margaret draws on her recent participation in delegations to Nicaragua to highlight the growing links of cooperation and solidarity between China and progressive Latin America, and she contextualizes this within an emerging multipolar system of international relations which stands in stark contrast to US unipolarity and hegemony.

Greetings everyone. Of course I want to start by thanking Friends of Socialist China for inviting me to participate in this meeting today. When I received the invitation in early February I didn’t know, I don’t think anyone knew, that the world would change irrevocably just a few weeks later. But here we are and I’ll discuss a little bit how the conflict in Ukraine is connected to the subject of today’s discussion.

Only people in the United States were unaware that the unipolar world was ending but the rest of the world was very much aware. China’s economic ascendancy is a direct challenge to US power and is being felt and embraced in Latin America.

I saw this for myself on my first trip to Nicaragua in November 2021. I was invited to be an electoral companion, an acompanante, during that nation’s election and I attended as a member of a Black Alliance for Peace delegation.

Continue reading Margaret Kimberley: Countries struggling against US domination are inevitably turning to China

Brazil’s ex-president Dilma Rousseff: US-China conflict is neoliberalism vs socialism

We’re pleased to republish this very useful article by Ben Norton in Multipolarista, introducing and summarizing Dilma Rousseff’s keynote speech at our recent webinar, 21st Century Socialism: China and Latin America on the Frontline (at which Ben also spoke).

Brazil’s former president Dilma Rousseff has condemned US meddling and “hybrid war” in Latin America, while simultaneously praising China for creating a new model of economic development that challenges US-led neoliberal capitalism and the “Washington Consensus” imposed on the world.

“We want, basically, to be able to break with the Monroe Doctrine,” Rousseff said, referring to the nearly 200-year-old colonial doctrine in which the US government claims Latin America as its geopolitical “backyard.”

“We want Latin America to be for the Latin Americans, and not as the US wants it, in the Monroe Doctrine, which means Latin America for the North Americans, precisely the opposite,” the former Brazilian head of state added.

“The so-called hybrid war unleashed by the US through second-generation coups, lawfare processes, and sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela led to a great setback, returning to the continent the inequality, misery, and hunger that had been overcome, or that it was about to get over,” she lamented.

A leader of the left-wing Workers’ Party, Rousseff served as president of Brazil from 2011 until August 2016, when she was overthrown in a soft coup backed by the US government and her country’s powerful right-wing corporate oligarchy.

Continue reading Brazil’s ex-president Dilma Rousseff: US-China conflict is neoliberalism vs socialism

Ambassador Ma Hui: China and Cuba are bound together by common experiences and beliefs

On 19 March 2022, China’s ambassador to Cuba, Ma Hui, spoke at our event 21st Century Socialism: China and Latin America on the Frontline.

Ambassador Ma discusses the nature, development and trajectory of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics; the history of China-Cuba relations; Cuba’s remarkable progress in pursuing its own form of socialism; and the importance of ending the criminal US blockade against Cuba.

Dear friends:

I am delighted to join you at this very important webinar. The topics are wide-ranging. I will first share two points on what socialism with Chinese characteristics is and what it is not, then two points on Chinese-Cuban relations, and then my observations about Cuba.

First, socialism with Chinese characteristics is the result of the Chinese people’s painstaking trials and great sacrifices. It just doesn’t come easy to us.

Since the 1840s, through successive aggression such as the two Opium Wars, the Sino-French War, the First Sino-Japanese War, and the Eight-Allied Powers invasion, the Western powers bullied China into signing a series of unequal treaties, gradually reducing China from a world power to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal state. As a result, the Chinese people embarked on the arduous quest for survival and rejuvenation. China tried constitutional monarchy, parliamentary system, multi-party system, presidential system, you name it, but all failed.

Continue reading Ambassador Ma Hui: China and Cuba are bound together by common experiences and beliefs

Carlos Miguel Pereira Hernández: Cuba and China are united in the struggle for peace and socialism

On 19 March 2022, Cuba’s ambassador to China, Carlos Miguel Pereira Hernández, spoke at our event ‘21st Century Socialism: China and Latin America on the Frontline‘. The speech was given in Spanish, with English subtitles provided by the Cuban Embassy in Beijing.

Ambassador Pereira makes a number of crucial points about the nature of Marxism as a living science as opposed to a dogma; about the cruel blockade imposed by the US on Cuba, the aim of which is to destroy the viability of the socialist system; and about the importance of the Cuba-China relationship.

Dear Friends:

I would like to congratulate the platform Friends of Socialist China for this valuable initiative of organizing this seminar and opportunity granted to me to address a topic that is gaining more and more theoretical and practical relevance, with good friends, colleagues and scholars whom I deeply respect.

A retrospective look at the theory of socialism allows establishing in advance that the founders of Marxism did not intend to design a scheme of socialist society, so in their works we only find the fundamental theses of the model that would necessarily replace the still-developing capitalism.

The persistent attempts to attribute an exclusive character to the model implemented in the USSR, to the point of trying to impose it as a “single socialist model”, distorted from the beginning the discussions on the alternatives of functioning of socialism. The controversy unleashed between the constituted leadership of the Bolshevik Party and the so-called left opposition after the passing away of Lenin, contributed to the emergence of different theories on the model that should prevail in socialism and, consequently, the parameters to assess it.

The profound differences between the socialism built in regions of the developed world and that one built in that world which was overwhelmed by the global expansion of capitalism led to great theoretical and political mistakes and no less serious practical misunderstandings during the 20th century.

Continue reading Carlos Miguel Pereira Hernández: Cuba and China are united in the struggle for peace and socialism

Reminder: 21st Century Socialism – China and Latin America on the Frontline (19 March)

Our next webinar takes place on Saturday 19 March 2022, midday (US Eastern) / 9am (US Pacific) / 4pm (Britain)

China is the world’s largest socialist country and a leading proponent of multipolarity. As such it has an indispensable role in inspiring and creating a favourable environment for the global transition to socialism. Meanwhile, in the last two decades, progressive governments and movements in Latin America have been blazing a trail in exploring new paths towards socialism in the 21st century. Friendship and cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Latin American left is therefore an indispensable component of the global struggle for socialism and against imperialism.

This event will explore a number of themes, including the history of friendship and solidarity between China and Latin America; the legacy of Hugo Chávez in encouraging a new era of socialist internationalism; the US’s aggression against popular movements – regime change coups, economic warfare, lawfare and destabilisation; China’s emerging role as a key partner for Latin America and the Caribbean; the growing attraction of the Belt and Road Initiative in Latin America; the place of Latin America in the US-led New Cold War; China and Latin America on the global frontlines of resisting imperialism; the renewal of diplomatic relations between China and Nicaragua; and the role of international law and the UN in pushing back against hegemony.

Confirmed speakers

  • Dilma Rousseff (keynote) – Former President of Brazil
  • Ma Hui – China’s ambassador to Cuba
  • Carlos Miguel Pereira – Cuban ambassador to China
  • Carlos Ron – President, Simón Bolívar Institute (Venezuela)
  • Jiang Shixue – Director, Center for Latin American Studies, Shanghai University (China)
  • Margaret Kimberley – Executive Editor, Black Agenda Report (US)
  • Ben Norton – Journalist, Multipolarista (Nicaragua)
  • Camila Escalante – Reporter, Kawsachun News (Bolivia)
  • Elias Jabbour – Adjunct Professor of Economics, Rio de Janeiro State University (Brazil)
  • Francisco Domínguez – Secretary, Venezuela Solidarity Campaign (Britain)
  • Carlos Martinez – Co-editor, Friends of Socialist China (Britain)
  • Moderator: Radhika Desai – Convenor, International Manifesto Group (Canada)

Supported by

Ben Norton, Danny Haiphong and Carlos Martinez discuss China-Latin America relations

In this stream recorded on 10 March 2022, Ben Norton, Danny Haiphong and Carlos Martinez discuss a number of issues: the evolving relationship between China and Latin America; the motivation for our forthcoming event 21st Century Socialism: China and Latin America on the Frontline; the connection between multipolarity and socialism; the unfolding crisis in Ukraine; and Russia’s role in an increasingly multipolar world.

Panel discussion on the Belt and Road in Latin America

Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez joined Manolo De Los Santos, Executive Director of the People’s Forum, in a CODEPINK webinar about the expansion of the Belt and Road Initiative into Latin America and the Caribbean. Carlos and Manolo contrast the Belt and Road with the Washington Consensus, pointing out that Chinese economic engagement with Latin America is based on mutual respect and win-win relationships, as opposed to the domination and coercion that characterise the West’s approach. The Belt and Road Initiative offers an unprecedented opportunity for the countries of the region to upgrade their economies, to gain access to cutting edge technologies, to develop critically needed infrastructure, and to decarbonise their energy systems. In short, the relationship with China is helping the countries of the region to build a road out of underdevelopment.

China and Mexico celebrate 50 years of bilateral relations

The following report is republished from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.

On February 14, 2022, President Xi Jinping exchanged congratulatory messages with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Xi Jinping pointed out, both China and Mexico are countries with time-honored civilizations and history, and the friendly exchanges between the two peoples date back to ancient times. Since China and Mexico established diplomatic ties half a century ago, especially since the two countries established a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2013, bilateral relations have been developing on a fast track. The two countries have deepened political mutual trust and enhanced friendly exchanges and cooperation in various fields. In the face of the once-in-a-century pandemic, China and Mexico have stood together through thick and thin and extended a helping hand to each other, setting a good example of international solidarity in fighting the pandemic. The tree of China-Mexico friendship has flourished and borne bountiful fruits, bringing tangible benefits to the people of the two countries.

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Argentina’s ambassador to China reflects on 50 years of China-Argentina relations

In this article for CGTN marking 50 years of diplomatic relations between China and Argentina, ambassador Sabino Vaca Narvaja details the deepening of the relationship over the last two decades in particular, starting with the Strategic Partnership announced by Hu Jintao and Néstor Kirchner in 2004. Most recently, Argentina has joined the Belt and Road Initiative, and the two countries are cooperating closely in an array of areas, including renewable energy, transport, housing and telecommunications. Vaca particularly notes China’s indispensable support during the Covid-19 pandemic: China supplied vast quantities of medical supplies, and has to date provided over 30 million vaccine doses. Sinopharm is now working with Sinergium Biotech to produce vaccines in Argentina.

Argentina and China are “comprehensive strategic partners,” the highest level of diplomatic relations, and this year we celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations. Here I invite you to join me in a brief review of the evolution of this relationship.

Since the beginning of the new century, the bilateral relationship has deepened. It was precisely in 2004 that the government of Néstor Kirchner signed the “Strategic Partnership between Argentina and China” with the then Chinese President Hu Jintao. An important figure in this event was the then chief of the cabinet of ministers and now president of the nation, Dr. Alberto Fernández. In 2014, the relationship was raised even higher to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, with Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Xi Jinping being presidents at that moment. Now the vice president is Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and the president is Alberto Fernández, who has just concluded a successful official visit to Beijing and signed the accession to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), deepening bilateral relations even more.

The nature of the comprehensive strategic partnership subscribed in 2014 by both governments implies a mandate to deepen cooperation in all areas, identifying and implementing projects that best meet the interests of both peoples. The potentialities of cooperation are incalculable since all areas are open to cooperation. In this aspect, we are working hard to consolidate and expand bilateral cooperation. An example of this is the Strategic Dialogue for Economic Coordination and Cooperation (DECCE). This mechanism is also in charge of implementing the Integrated Five-Year Plan which lists priority projects between both countries, such as photovoltaic parks, wind farms, gas pipelines, thermal power plants, transmission lines, dams and so on. There are also important projects related to strengthening our railway network, both in cargo and passenger transport and strengthening the connectivity of the Pacific through bi-oceanic corridors from east to west and the border crossings with Chile. Likewise, bridges, aqueducts, water treatment plants and residential buildings are being planned.

Continue reading Argentina’s ambassador to China reflects on 50 years of China-Argentina relations

China agrees to help Nicaragua develop infrastructure, hospitals, renewable energy

We are very pleased to republish this short article by Ben Norton, originally carried on Multipolarista, outlining the huge strides made in developing friendly relations and cooperation between Nicaragua and China since the two countries resumed diplomatic relations in December last year and especially since Nicaragua formally joined the Belt and Road Initiative last month. Major Chinese state owned companies will take the lead in a comprehensive program to develop hospitals, renewable energy, medical equipment, roads, railways and ports, as well as the water and public health systems, in the Central American nation.

The People’s Republic of China has come to an agreement with Nicaragua’s Sandinista government to develop infrastructure projects in the Central American country.

Top Nicaraguan officials announced on February 9 that they had signed a comprehensive memorandum of understanding with representatives from Beijing.

Under the agreement, China will help Nicaragua develop hospitals, renewable energy, medical equipment, roads, railways, and ports, as well as its water system and public health sector.

Continue reading China agrees to help Nicaragua develop infrastructure, hospitals, renewable energy

Trapped in IMF debt, Argentina turns to Russia and joins China’s Belt and Road

In this recent article, first published in Multipolarista, Ben Norton discusses Argentine President Alberto Fernandez’s recent trip to Russia and China, where he agreed on a number of significant deals on trade, investment and health cooperation. The trip was explicitly framed in terms of a turn towards multipolarity and away from dependence on the US and IMF.

The United States constantly intervenes in the internal affairs of Latin America, organizing coups d’etat, destabilizing independent governments, trapping nations in debt, and imposing sanctions. Washington sees the region as its own property, with President Joe Biden referring to it this January as “America’s front yard.”

Seeking alternatives to US hegemony, progressive governments in Latin America have increasingly looked across the ocean to form alliances with China and Russia.

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández did exactly that this February, taking historic trips to Beijing and Moscow to meet with his counterparts Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin.

Fernández signed a series of strategic agreements, officially incorporating Argentina into Beijing’s international Belt and Road Initiative, while expanding economic partnerships with the Eurasian powers and telling Moscow that Argentina “should be the door to enter” Latin America.

China offered $23.7 billion in funding for infrastructure projects and investments in Argentina’s economy.

In the meetings, Fernández also asked for Argentina to join the BRICS framework, alongside Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Xi and Putin reportedly both agreed.

“I am consistently working to rid Argentina of this dependence on the IMF and the US,” Fernández explained. “I want Argentina to open up new opportunities.”

The Argentine president’s comments and meetings with Putin and Xi reportedly angered the US government.

Argentina is trapped in odious debt with the US-controlled IMF

Argentina is a Latin American powerhouse, with significant natural resources and the third-largest economy in the region (after Brazil and Mexico, both of which have significantly larger populations).

But Argentina’s development has often been weighed down by debt traps imposed from abroad, resulting in frequent economic crises, cycles of high inflation, and currency devaluations.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) – a de facto economic arm of the United States, over which Washington alone has veto power – has significant control over Argentina, having trapped the nation in huge sums of odious debt.

In 2018, Argentina’s right-wing President Mauricio Macri requested the largest loan in the history of the IMF: a staggering $57.1 billion bailout.

Macri was notorious for his corruption, and this was no secret at the time. By agreeing to give such an enormous sum of money to Macri’s scandal-plagued government, the IMF knew it was ensnaring Argentina in debt it would not be able to pay off. But this was far from the first time the US-dominated financial instrument had trapped Argentina in odious debt.

In December 2021, the IMF published an internal report admitting that the 2018 bailout completely failed to stabilize Argentina’s economy.

But when Argentina’s center-left President Alberto Fernández entered office in December 2019, his country was ensnared in $44.5 billion in debt from this bailout that the IMF itself admitted was a total failure. ($44.5 billion of the $57.1 billion loan had already been disbursed, and Fernández cancelled the rest.)

The Argentine government has tried to renegotiate the debt, but in order to do so the IMF has imposed conditions that severely restrict the nation’s sovereignty – such as appointing a British economist who “will virtually be the new economic minister,” acting as a kind of “co-government,” warned prominent diplomat Alicia Castro.

Seeking ways around these US debt traps, Fernández decided this February to turn to the two rising Eurasian superpowers.

Argentine President Fernández travels to Russia to meet with Putin

On February 3, Argentine President Alberto Fernández travelled to Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin.

“I’m certain Argentina has to stop being so dependent on the [International Monetary] Fund and the United States, and has to open up to other places, and that is where it seems to me that Russia has a very important place,” Fernández said, explaining his motivation for the trip.

Fernández added that, for Russia, Argentina “should be the door to enter” the region, telling Putin, “We could be a venue for the development of your cooperation with Latin American nations.”

The two leaders discussed Russian investment in the Argentine economy, trade, railroad construction, and energy technology.

Fernández also thanked Moscow for collaborating with his country in the production of its Sputnik V covid-19 vaccine. Argentina was the first country in the western hemisphere to do so.

The Argentine president even pointed out in their meeting that he has received three doses of the Sputnik V vaccine. Putin added, “Me too.”

Putin said the two countries agree on many issues, calling Argentina “one of Russia’s key partners in Latin America.”

Argentine President Fernández travels to China to meet with Xi

Just three days after meeting with Putin, President Alberto Fernández travelled to China on February 6 to meet with President Xi Jinping.

In this historic trip, Argentina officially joined Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, a massive global infrastructure program.

Fernández and other top Argentine officials signed agreements for $23.7 billion in Chinese financing, including investments and infrastructure projects.

The funding will be disbursed in two parts: one, which is already approved, will provide Argentina with $14 billion for 10 infrastructure projects; the second, for $9.7 billion, will finance the South American nation’s integration into the Belt and Road.

There are three joint Chinese-Argentine projects that were reportedly at the top of Fernández’s list: creating 5G networks, developing Argentina’s lithium industry, and building the Atucha III nuclear power plant.

Fernández also discussed plans for Argentina to produce China’s Sinopharm covid-19 vaccine, in addition to Russia’s Sputnik V.

Argentina and China signed a comprehensive memorandum of understanding, including 13 documents for cooperation in areas such as green energy, technology, education, agriculture, communication, and nuclear energy.

Fernández and Xi discussed ways to “strengthen relations of political, commercial, economic, scientific, and cultural cooperation between both countries,” according to an Argentine government readout of the meeting.

The two leaders apparently hit it off very well, with Fernández telling Xi, “If you were Argentine, you would be a Peronist.”

Argentina’s incorporation into the Belt and Road comes mere weeks after Nicaragua joined the initiative in January, and Cuba in December.

Latin America’s growing links with China and Russia show how the increasingly multipolar international system offers countries in the Global South new potential allies who can serve as bulwarks against and alternatives to Washington’s hegemony.

While right-wing leaders in Latin America keep looking north to the United States as their political compass, progressive governments are reaching across the ocean to the Eurasian powers of China, Russia, and Iran, building new international alliances that weaken Washington’s geopolitical grip over a region that the US president still insists is its “front yard.”

Along the Belt and Road: Breaking the cycle of underdevelopment in Latin America

The following article by Carlos Martinez was commissioned by the Taihe Institute for the January 2022 edition of its monthly magazine, TI Observer. Carlos gives an overview of the history of European and North American subjugation of Latin America, and explores the ways in which the expanding relationship between China and the region is helping to break the cycle of underdevelopment and poverty.

There is an audio version of this article available on the TI Observer podcast.

The last few months have seen a significant expansion of the Belt and Road Initiative in Latin America and the Caribbean. Although this region of the world is not the most obvious fit for an undertaking that was originally modelled on the Silk Road – a network of trade routes linking East Asia with the Middle East, Africa and Europe – the reality is that the countries of South America, Central America and the Caribbean share many of the same needs as their counterparts in Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Most Latin American countries won their formal independence from Spanish and Portuguese colonialism in the 19th century, but they found themselves in the shadow of an incipient North American imperialism. The Monroe Doctrine, first articulated by President James Monroe in 1823, denounced European colonialism and interference in the Western Hemisphere, not on the basis of anti-colonial principle but with a view to buttressing US hegemonic designs. Since that time, the US has tended to consider Latin America as its ‘backyard’ – a collection of countries subjected to the control (direct or indirect) of Washington.1

Eduardo Galeano wrote that the transition from colonialism to neocolonialism made little difference to Latin America’s position within the global capitalist economy. “Everything from the discovery until our times has always been transmuted into European – or later, United States – capital, and as such has accumulated on distant centres of power. Everything: the soil, its fruits and its mineral-rich depths, the people and their capacity to work and to consume, natural resources and human resources.”2

Continue reading Along the Belt and Road: Breaking the cycle of underdevelopment in Latin America