Pentagon Leaks Expose Russia’s and China’s Involvement in Latin America

The Miami Herald published details of Russia’s and China’s growing relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean on April 10, referencing classified Pentagon documents leaked on social media last week. Russia and China are becoming more involved in Latin America as the United States’ influence begins to dissolve in the region.

Russian security in Haiti: According to one of the leaked documents, Russia’s Wagner mercenary group had been planning to provide Haiti with security forces to help the government take on the country’s problem with armed gang violence. Since Haiti and the U.S. have been unable to successfully negotiate a plan of action, Wagner offered itself as an alternative partner.

So far, Haiti has not had official discussions with Wagner about the topic.

Brazil, a mediator in Ukraine? Another document exposed how, in late February, Russia was considering accepting Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s offer to mediate negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. The plan was for Brazil to establish a group of “supposedly impartial mediators to settle the war in Ukraine.”

Ukraine rejected the proposal from Brazil. According to the classified documents, Russian officials thought Ukraine’s refusal was unfounded because the “impartial mediators … would reject the West’s ‘aggressor-victim’ paradigm.” In other words, Russia thought Ukraine rejected the offer because Brazil would help get rid of the West’s bias.

“I see that as more kind of opportunistic diplomacy [for Brazil] than anything else,” said Evan Ellis, a research professor of Latin American Studies at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute. “There’s that kind of traditional Latin American orientation of ‘We’re not going to get involved in international politics unless there’s something in it for us.’”

Chinese naval outpost in Nicaragua: A third document revealed that China has plans to build a deepwater port off the coast of Nicaragua. China Harbor Engineering Co. has negotiated potential site surveys and had other secret discussions with Nicaragua to build the port.

The document explained that Russia is Nicaragua’s “main security partner” and has “expanded its defense ties” with China since the Ukraine War. China has not asked for military access, but the document said that Nicaragua “probably would consider offering Beijing naval access in exchange for economic investment.”

U.S. in danger: Russia’s and China’s involvement in Latin America and the Caribbean bodes disaster for U.S. foreign policy and trade. This region is essential to America’s economy, as over half of its trade travels through the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

In 2019, we wrote:

This geographic reality is why Russia and China want to challenge U.S. dominance in the Caribbean. These aspiring superpowers are forging alliances with socialist governments in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela [as well as some others now]. If these Latin dictatorships become staging grounds for Russia and China, a coalition of nations could potentially cut off U.S. access to the Panama Canal and seal off the Straits of Florida and the Yucatan Channel.
—“Preparing to Storm America’s Castle

These recent Pentagon leaks give some of the details of how Russia and China are accomplishing this.