Rex Tillerson’s tour of Latin America and the geopolitical dispute over resources with China and Venezuela
January 8, 2018 – Fort Russ News – Paul Antonopoulos – Translated from Mision Verdad.
CARACAS, Venezuela – The pulse against China
Of the four countries in which China has invested the most resources (Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina), only one is still ruled by forces that are not aligned or aligned with US geopolitical interests.
The White House has concentrated efforts to influence Latin America after its attempts to end the Bolivarian Revolution in 2017 and after the summit of the People’s Republic of China with foreign ministers of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) failed carried out in Santiago de Chile last January, to present the La Franja and La Ruta megaproject. This meeting was scheduled in 2015 under the commitment to carry out exchanges and programs on the basis of equality, respect and mutual benefit.
The world’s largest consumer of raw materials (China) promised to boost trade with the region, which currently exceeds 200 billion dollars. Trade between China and Latin America and the Caribbean increased by 22 times between 2000 and 2013. In 2017, goods were exchanged for a value of 266 billion dollars and the goal of 2025 is 500 billion dollars.
In the past, other countries criticized the US position when they were planted when Trump decided to abandon the trans-Pacific trade agreement known as TPP. For his part Rex Tillerson warned on Thursday to the countries of Latin America regarding an excessive dependence on their economic ties with China arguing that “Latin America does not need new imperial powers”, this before the visit to Mexico, Argentina, Peru and Colombia, countries that function as gringo branches in the region.
The dispute between the two powers over the influence in the region is clear. According to data from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Asian giant is the first destination market for exports from Brazil and Chile, and the second from Peru, Cuba and Costa Rica. In addition, it is the third country among the main origins of the region’s imports. He buys all the soy he can from Argentina; Chile, the largest copper producer in the world, earmarks a third of its production; and Venezuela places large amounts of oil in China. Peru also supplies copper.
It is notable that the influence of the US in the region is being displaced in a diplomatic style without bombs or coups, in this sense many governments prefer to negotiate with a power that does not act in an interventionist manner.
The Chinese Development Bank provides loans to Latin American and African countries in exchange for guaranteeing the supply of oil and gas that energize its New Silk Road. Between 2005 and 2015, China granted Latin America and the Caribbean more than 100 billion dollars in loans, the majority to Venezuela, not counting the multimillion-dollar investments in the oil and mining sectors.
Given this, the US has decided to step forward to ensure space, even when Chinese diplomatic spokesmen have said they do not seek to compete with them. Within the National Security Strategy (ESN), announced by Trump in December 2017, energy agents are protagonists in the security and the US economy, so that his government is determined to increase the pressure to liberalize the hydrocarbons market in Latin America. What is in dispute is the global hegemony and energy are vital to ensure the extraction of raw materials, sustain the production of goods, mobilize them, dominate markets and protect them.
Against the bad Venezuelan example
Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela constitute 84% of the oil export potential of the region. The work of capturing these resources is almost done with the pressure for the energy reform and the dismantling of PEMEX in Mexico; but the role played by the US corporate elite in the Brazilian Operation Lava Jato that seeks the dismantling of Brazilian state companies, including Petrobras, to which China lent a maximum of 10 billion dollars in 2009. Both countries have been reduced to “a club of good oil boys”.
In particular, as we have pointed out, the oil transnationals have obtained solid gains from the new geopolitical configuration of the continent. ExxonMobil has preferred to invest in the exploration of the Essequibo coasts with remarkable success due to the large deposits obtained. From there arises the interest of this company (and the government in which it participates through Tillerson) in capturing the hydrocarbon reserves that extend to the mouth of the Orinoco and the Paria peninsula.
Added to this is the interest to strengthen commercial and military ties with the countries of Petrocaribe before the danger of contagion by the exchange with Venezuela, which goes beyond the energetic and also lies in the educational and cultural.
Although still important, the US has reduced its dependence on imports from Venezuela in a consistent manner, as well as increasing those from neighboring Canada. Of the three main suppliers, we are the only one with which it does not have agreements or treaties that guarantee the “free flow” of oil. While the Chinese-Venezuelan agreement by which the Chinese state company Sinopec invests 14 billion dollars to achieve daily oil production in 200 thousand barrels per day of oil in the Orinoco Oil Belt, considered the largest certified oil reserve in the world , would ruin the gringo goal of drying up China’s energy sources.
The US loses buying “fracked” oil from Canada whose Energy Return Rate is low (what is extracted in energy units is similar to what was spent), while wars (spending on arms and troops) increased oil production in Libya and Iraq.
The systematic and intense multifactorial war against Venezuela has included the selective shortage of articles of basic necessity, the amplification in the media of citizen insecurity and the narrative of “humanitarian crisis” that seeks a military intervention that stands as “savior of the country “It is a plan designed by the CIA, as recognized by its director Mike Pompeo and who has had the logistical help of the Colombian government and its economic elites.
It is a warning to the sovereign position of Venezuela, but also a warning to the electorate of other countries to which the nationalist left could return (Argentina with Cristina and Brazil with Lula) or dabble for the first time (Mexico with López Obrador), as expressed in polls and surveys.
Other resources in sight
The interests of the corporatocracy that governs the US articulate the economic with the military, ranging from the concentration of aquifer reserves in southern Argentina and the Guaraní Aquifer to the Andean and Central America.
Biodiversity is also a key factor for pharmaceutical and biotechnological interests, since the Amazon is the richest area in biodiversity in the world and is followed by Central America, territories in which the Americans have installed bases and carried out military exercises while others are controlled by paramilitary bands. In these regions, Plan Colombia and Plan Puebla-Panama have governed.
Fresh water could be the biggest geopolitical conflict of this century, it is expected that by the year 2025 the demand will increase by 56%, so that the countries possessing fresh water will become economic and military objectives. Venezuela is among the 10 countries with the largest amount of fresh water, which would be fundamental for extractive activities such as gas and oil primarily, but also in mining and agro-industry.