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Montevideo, March 5th 2024 - 04:58 UTC



US Southern Command Chief warns of Chinese expansion in South America

Saturday, March 11th 2023 - 08:05 UTC
Full article 5 comments
Gen. Richardson warned lawmakers about the consequences of the US neglecting South America for so long Gen. Richardson warned lawmakers about the consequences of the US neglecting South America for so long

General Laura Jane Richardson, the head of the US Southern Command, told the House of Representatives this week that “China continues to expand its influence” in Latin America and “manipulates” its governments through “predatory investment practices.”

She also underlined how the Asian power was interested in the region's lithium resources, particularly around the Argentine-Chilean-Bolivian border.

Richardson complained before the House Armed Services Committee about other countries profiting from the region's natural wealth: “This region is full of resources and I am concerned about the malign activity of our adversaries who are taking advantage of it, pretending they are investing when in fact they are extracting,” she said.

“Beijing continues to expand its economic, diplomatic, technological, informational, and military influence in Latin America and the Caribbean,” she also pointed out. China “has the ability and the intent” to “promote its brand of authoritarianism and amass power and influence at the expense of these democracies,” she went on. In her view, the Asian power has “expanded its ability to extract resources, establish ports, manipulate governments through predatory investment practices and build potential dual-use space facilities,” she also pointed out.

The general also told lawmakers that Beijing was taking advantage of Latin American leaders being “desperate for their economies” after being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and, because they tend to stay in power for only one term, are in a hurry for the results of their administrations.

“When there is nothing else available, there is no Western or international investment or bidders in the tenders that go out, when there are big projects for critical infrastructure and there are only Chinese bidders, they have no choice,” she stressed. “We should be very concerned about Chinese investment throughout the Western Hemisphere.”

Richardson also noted that in Mexico alone Chinese companies such as Huawei supply about 80% of telecommunications. The general also warned about the effects of the New Silk Road, a global infrastructure development strategy launched by Beijing when Latin American countries “are trying to dig themselves out of the hole” China appears with billions of dollars available for large projects that “look like investments but everything is in critical infrastructure.”

“Surprisingly”, these projects are related to “space, telecommunications, and deep water ports”, Richardson remarked, adding that “one has to wonder why.”

Richardson also pointed out that the so-called “lithium triangle” accumulates “60% of the world's lithium”. “Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile have it and [our adversaries] are subtracting resources from these countries and their people, who are trying to produce, from these democracies that are trying to contribute to their peoples,” she explained.

“When you talk to the US ambassadors in Chile and Argentina and the companies that are there, China's aggressiveness and the ground game they have with lithium is very advanced and very aggressive,” Richardson argued.

Top Comments

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  • Pugol-H

    When you dance with the Devil there is a price to be paid.

    Just Ask the Tibetans, Uyghurs, Taiwanese, Hong Kongers, or any of a dozen other ethnic groups in China or on its borders.

    Or any country bordering the S. China sea.

    Or any country in Africa that has done investment/extraction deals with the Chinese.

    The only thing free from China was covid 19

    Time to start supplying Taiwan with NLAW and StarStreak missiles, make that as unwinnable for Chinese as Ukraine is proving to be for the Russians.

    Slava Ukrayini, Slava Taiwan.

    Mar 12th, 2023 - 01:15 pm +2
  • Trimonde

    Last I checked, China has never been behind the assassination or ouster of any Latin American president, has never tried to overthrow any elected government, has never sent any troops or military interventions, nor finances and created propaganda for any of its preferred candidates, has never stunningly openly lied to the entire planet by creating million dollar efforts to install non elected politicians as a “legitimate government”, nor financed internal wars and guerilla fighting and murder. Neither has China (so far) logged thousands of acres illegally leaving behind poison and deadly chemicals in the rivers of countries in order to haul away as much of their geological resources as possible.
    When it comes to US and UK historical involvement @Shogun, I would hardly call it a comparison between Pot and Kettle. Just the fact that it is the -- Head of a sector of the US military global command -- makes her lying even more outrageous. Why should the US Military be talking about political situations relative to global democratic free associations among nations, if it did not want to right away create the framing for a belligerency or war hypothesis?? Once more an English speaking country with zero regard or respect towards the equal rights of all nations in the world, talking insolently and pedantically about what really is the US's oppressive pretension of domination of Latin America, and its own veiled and presumptuous greed for its resources and control of its politics.

    Mar 12th, 2023 - 09:18 am +1
  • Pytangua

    The arrogance and hypocrisy of Southern Command chief General Richardson is incredible - as if the US had never engaged in 'predatory investment practices' in Latin America during the past two centuries. Has she ever rad the history of the US-Latin American relations?

    Mar 13th, 2023 - 03:11 pm +1
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