Bill aims to arrest China, Russia influence in Latin America

7 months ago

The bill seeks to counter what the senators, both sons of Cuban immigrants, consider the “harmful and malign influence” in Latin America of China and Russia, arguing that the “destabilizing” influence of authoritarian governments in Beijing and Moscow pose unique risks to U.S. national security interests as well as the region's welfare.

If approved, the bill would require the Secretaries of State and Defense to jointly submit within 180 days a strategy to enhance diplomatic engagement and security assistance in the Western Hemisphere on issues ranging from drug trafficking to transnational crime. Concrete steps would include increasing military training exercises with partner nations and efforts to improve their capacity to conduct disaster relief operations.

China in recent years has replaced the U.S. as the main trading partner of several countries in Latin America while at the same time financing major investments in infrastructure, including the building out of the region's cellular network, which the U.S. considers a security risk.

Meanwhile, Russia is a major supplier of military support and weapons to Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela — the three top U.S. adversaries in the region that generations of U.S. policy makers had referred to as Washington's backyard.

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