China in U.S. Backyard
Anti-Americanism has swept the globe this past year, penetrating more than just the minds of Islamic terrorists. The strengthening of Sino-Latin relations could mark the beginning of the end of U.S. domination in Latin America.
For Brazil and Venezuela, “the strategic partnership with China also includes strengthening a multipolar geopolitical framework that challenges U.S. hegemony” (Stratfor, January 3; emphasis ours throughout). After years of relying on U.S. investors and consumers, Latin American nations are now looking at other interested parties. And if they respond to China’s interest anything like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has, the outcome for America could be devastating.
After visiting China in December 2004, Chavez returned to Venezuela to declare a new energy partnership. “Chavez says Chinese oil and gas companies will be assured access to contracts in Venezuela ranging from exploration and production of crude oil and gas, to the construction of refineries and petrochemical plants” (ibid., Dec. 29, 2004).
Although it will likely take a while for China to establish itself as a major player in Venezuela’s oil industry, the immediate issue that is truly worrying is the anti-American mindset behind Chavez’s newfound relations with Beijing. Stratfor continued, “Chavez wants to break free of Venezuela’s decades-old energy relationship with the United States, and is banking on China’s thirst for oil to achieve that goal” (ibid.).
Venezuela is currently the fourth-largest supplier of oil to the U.S., and if anything, American demand for oil is likely to increase. Clearly, President Chavez’s newfound relations with China are more about breaking free of Venezuela’s reliance on America than needing to secure future oil exports.
Washington’s influence in Latin America will continue to wane. Chinese companies already own critical sea gates in the region. Before long, Latin America will simply become another international entity bitterly opposed to American power.