Latin America: Public Relations Challenges

Latin American leaders are concerned about China’s growing influence in the region, the Voice of Russia‘s (VoR) English service quotes a document reportedly made public by Wikileaks on Friday:

According to the mass media, the regional leaders reached the conclusion to that end following a 2009 visit to Latin America by the Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping and Deputy Prime Minister Hui Liangyu.

The regional leaders feel that Beijing’s current strategy aims to assume full control of the world’s mineral markets.

Generally, the publication of classified documents by Wikileaks, started late last year, received mixed responses from Latin American leaders.

— I’ll roughly refer to some passages of the document in the following, but won’t link to it, as this platform apparently doesn’t allow links to there – they turn into links pointing elsewhere. Enter a searchword combination at google.com, something like “Shanghai scholars” “Brazil’s natural resources” “Need to Diversify Trade Partners”, and you should get there, or read the (apparently full) document at eats shoots ‘n leaves.JR

A US consular document from Shanghai, published on Friday goes beyond the Latin American mass media, and also quotes the Brazilian Consul General in Shanghai as saying that China’s strategy in Latin America was clear: it wanted to “control the supply of commodities”. Chinese scholars quoted addressed an image problem China was facing in Latin America, and Chinese problems with unionized labor. Things were easier for Chinese business in Africa, since Africa’s institutions and regulatory environment were less well-developed than Latin America’s.

The views of Argentina’s Consul General in Shanghai come across as notably friendlier. However, he is also quoted as saying that “real investment” from China in Argentina only started five years ago, was only growing at a “modest pace”, and the examples he is said to give referred to a rather diverse set of projects, including a motorcycle factory in Buenos Aires.

In December, Inácio Lula Da Silva, then still president of Brazil, expressed his indignation about the arrest of Julian Assange, one of the Wikileaks founders. Nothing was done about this offense against a man’s freedom of speech, he said, according to this video, “of a guy that was bringing to the public a little mess made by some ambassadors”.

Stay tuned, Lula.

____________

Related
Strategic Commodities, October 26, 2010
Xi Jinping criticizes his Critics, February 18, 2009
JR-Tag: Africa »

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