Destaque Internacional / International Highlights - Year XII - No. 308 - Madrid - San José de Costa Rica - Santiago de Chile, Sept. 20, 2010 - Director: Javier González. This is an interactive editorial. Please, send your suggestions & opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org To be removed from our Address Book, please, send a message with the word "Remove" on the Subject line. Thanks in advance.
Latin America, the Chinese Metastasis and an Urgent Counterbalance
The Chinese economic invasion of Brazil and Latin America threatens to turn the Continent into a sort of satellite of the red dragon, with potential cultural, psychological and political transformations; there is a disloyalty of the Chinese competitors, because it is an invasion promoted by the very Chinese State, rather than an action driven by the Chinese private sector
1. So far this year, China has placed its efforts into snapping up Latin America, under the apparent indifference of the United States and other Western powers, which seem to be yawning at the neocolonialism propelled by a mysterious Chinese "capitalcomunism", whose essence is hard to define, but whose influence is certainly spreading like a peculiar metastasis throughout the Americas.
2. Thus, in the first semester this year, nothing less than 20 billion dollar credit lines were granted by China to Hugo Chavez's Venezuela. Likewise, after receiving the modest amount of 56 million dollars of direct Chinese investments last year, Ecuador has celebrated deals with China summing up to 5 billion dollars in the oil and hydroelectric power sectors in 2010. Peru has received 1.4 billion dollars in Chinese investments during the first semester and China became its second largest business partner.
3. Moreover, the Chinese economic invasion is particularly noticeable in the Brazilian giant. In 2010 China has replaced the United States as Brazil's main business partner. Early this year, Petrobrás signed up a deal that will supply China with 200 thousand oil barrels a day for 10 years. Chinese food and mineral buys exceeded 20 billion dollars in the first semester. In the meantime, the Chinese are buying all lands and mines they find for sale - to the very limits allowed by the current Brazilian legislation.
China could be more appropriately called Brazil's economic "plunderer", rather than its "business partner". A few days ago, the daily The Guardian published a special report on the issue, telling how the Chinese are financing the building of a huge commercial harbor named Açu, in São João da Barra, up the Rio de Janeiro State, in order to export all sort of food and mineral products to China. Such a "superharbor" will be a gigantic "sea highway to China", and a top Brazilian businessman is going so far as to fund free Mandarin lessons to those living in that Brazilian town. Through such a "sea highway", "thousands of tons of iron minerals and grains plus millions of oil barrels" will be exported to China per year, in order to "alleviate China's seemingly unquenchable thirst for natural resources", reports the English newspaper.
4. It is not in vain that the chairman of the Industry Federation of São Paulo State (FIESP), Benjamin Steinbruch, asked the current Brazilian government to establish legal restraints on the Chinese economic invasion. The above-mentioned businessman warns about the total "disloyalty" of the Chinese competitors, also explaining that it is actually an invasion promoted by the very Chinese State, rather than an action driven by the Chinese private sector.
The new Brazilian government emerging from the upcoming national elections will have to face the dilemma of either changing the policy towards China or turning Brazil into a Chinese economic satellite, along with other Latin American nations. Furthermore, the Chinese economic invasion of Brazil and Latin America not only threatens to turn the whole continent into a type of satellite state of the red dragon, but may also bring about huge cultural, psychological and political transformations.
5. In view of such scenario, the recent words by the United States Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela, recently issued in Peking, stating that he sees with "good eyes" the Chinese investments in Latin America and that they do not pose "any concern nor a threat" for the U.S., sound superficial and even irresponsible.
6. In the opposite direction, especially noteworthy are the statements by several Secretaries of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), voicing their concern with the Chinese regional arrogance, mainly with China's hegemonic claims over the South China Sea. Regarding Japan, special note must be given to the wide electoral victory achieved by the current pro-Western Prime Minister Naoto Kan over his pro-Chinese rival Ichiro Ozawa in the internal elections of the governing Democratic Party (PD). Japan, South Korea and other nations from Southeast Asia are capable of constituting an important and decisive counterbalance to China's hegemonic ambitions.
7. Not even a word is being said against the Chinese totalitarian system - very little or almost nothing. With few honorable exceptions, there is a psychological conformism of an almost hypnotic nature, even suicidal. Such a conformism seems to have taken over many governmental, diplomatic, and entrepreneurial minds. Neither a word of protest is said when major companies settled in China are forced to release their industrial secrets and puzzlingly accept these heavy conditions, in spite of knowing that China will copy, manufacture and sell their products in the West as "genetic" products at lower prices. Almost nothing is said about "human rights" being violated by a totalitarian State that - to say the least - compels millions of Chinese to a nearly slave work in order to manufacture low-cost goods that flood the Latin American market.
8. Paradoxically enough, whatever has never been allowed to the American "imperialism" is now being granted to the Chinese "neo imperialism". Those famous words attributed to Lenin - "the Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them" - seem more timely than ever in view of modern China, regardless of the ideology that is actually behind the Chinese puzzle.
Who may guarantee that this Chinese economic influence in Latin America will not result in short or mid-term demands leading us to a psychological, cultural and even political "neo slavery"?
To deny the international influence of the red dragon would be unreal. However, on the other hand, it would be naïve not to suspect that the Chinese metastases may have some media-advertising components similar to those used by the former Soviet Union to impress the West. Many of the so-called Soviet "achievements" in the military, economic and technological realms were mere lies turned into truths by means of media tricks. In what measurement and percentage are lie and truth mixed together in the shaping of the present China situation? It is up to the specialists and opinion makers to study such a problem.
Link to access The Guardian's article on China, Brazil & Latin America: