We’re underestimating China’s impact on governance in Latin America: Three persistent myths

China’s growing engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in recent years has captured the attention of policymakers, business leaders and foreign policy observers across the region. It seems nearly everyone these days wants to talk about China’s evolving presence and role in the region…

But largely absent from the conversation has been a serious, dedicated look at the normative impact of relations with Beijing on governance—and, in particular, on whether closer relationships with China’s party-state authorities will affect prospects for democracy in a region that has—at least theoretically—adopted a consensus around democratic values. At the same time, China has invested in a growing number of initiatives designed to shape public opinion and perceptions around the region, ranging from people-to-people exchanges, cultural activities, educational partnerships and programs, as well as media enterprises and information initiatives—a phenomenon that is even more apparent at the global level.

These activities targeting the ideas-realm are often interpreted as nothing more than China’s efforts at public diplomacy and are typically understood through the familiar lens of “soft power.” But consider for a moment whether LAC countries a might be miscalculating the scope of Beijing’s interests and aims—particularly those of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its chairman, Xi Jinping. 

Read The Full Article At The Global Americans