On Monday, July 10th, 2017, the Inter-American Dialogue was recognized at the 16th annual Think Tank Awards sponsored by the British publication Prospect. The Dialogue won the “One to Watch” award, which—along with “Best Think Tank”—was one of only two categories open to all think tanks, regardless of country or area of focus.
There is a sense that China is increasingly active in Latin America … and that we are seeing bigger announcements, bigger numbers, bigger deals, bigger projects. All of these things are bound to catch the attention of those up north.
If Panama is the only country in the region to have signed a belt-and-road agreement, that may be because China is aware that signing up more countries would create a strong reaction in the United States.
There’s an emphasis on broader political cooperation [between China and Latin America]–cooperation in a wide variety of global organizations, and new forms of diplomacy that are emerging since Xi Jinping came into office.
Latin American countries have been looking to diversify their partnerships, political and economic, since the global financial crisis, when they ran into a number of difficulties because they were tied to the United States... This process of diversification has been ongoing. However, there is this perception throughout the entire region—especially in Mexico—that the U.S. is employing a series of negative policies or has retreated from the region altogether. That has hastened this process of diversification.
La percepción de abandono de Trump a la región, junto con la retórica negativa empleada durante la campaña presidencial, solo ha acelerado la creación de nuevas alianzas entre los países de América Latina y el Caribe.
I don’t see a strategy. Latin America is still reactive. A lot of this has to do with a real lack of expertise at the highest levels... Increasingly more people are studying China, but not in top positions. That leads to an information mismatch, less ability to understand Chinese interests, and ultimately missed opportunities. There’s a lot of catching up to do.