Since the Cold War, Latin America has escaped any confrontation between the great powers. However, in the last decade, this scenario appears to have changed because of the increased presence of extra-regional actors. Recent developments in Venezuela dramatically illustrate this. China and Russia have become defining actors in Venezuela’s domestic dispute, using it as a platform for their global interests. The current crisis involves not only the power resources of traditional international competition—diplomatic, economic, and military—but also new means in the informational and cyber environment. This paper analyses the balancing strategies of China and Russia in Latin America and the role of their strategic communications. It argues that China and Russia employed two divergent balancing strategies to counter US regional hegemony in the Americas, and that each state projected strategic communications particular to each type of balancing. Consequently, China employs communications to ensure resources for its economic development, and to gain influence, presenting itself as a credible and responsible non-Western great power. Russia, meanwhile, employs information campaigns as part of hybrid warfare to promote hard balancing, to pressure United States hegemony in the Americas, and to reduce NATO’s influence in Eastern Europe.
Keywords—Latin America, Venezuela, China, Russia, US, great powers, balancing, strategic communications
About the Author
Raphael Camargo Lima is a researcher at the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea) in Brazil and holds an MSc in International Relations at the Graduate Program San Tiago Dantas (Unesp, Unicamp and PUC-SP). His research focuses on Latin American security and defence issues, regional governance, defence reform and military change.
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