Latin American Leaders Talking About China

˙ Asia & Latin America


Which Latin American leaders have mentioned China most in their tweets and posts? As indicated in our graphic above, Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto and Costa Rica’s Laura Chinchilla referenced China more than any other regional leaders – with 11 mentions from Peña Nieto and 10 from Chinchilla in the past six months. The two leaders’ posts largely coincided with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visits to Costa Rica and Mexico in June 2013, generally highlighting present and future economic cooperation between their respective nations and China:

@Laura_Ch: We announce preferential lines of credit with […]  Chinese banks for the acquisition of hybrid and electric vehicles

@EPN: We will create a special office for Mexican investment in China

During his visit to Costa Rica, Xi offered a $900 million China Development Bank credit to refurbish the state-owned Recope oil refinery in a continuation of 2008 refinery-related cooperation. As it has done elsewhere in the region, Beijing also offered loans for roads, buildings, and public transit vehicles.

Though historically contentious, China-Mexico relations are set to improve somewhat in the coming years. While in Mexico, President Xi promised to buy more than $1 billion worth of Mexican products. Recent deals were struck on tequila exports, for example. Mexican president Peña Nieto also agreed in April to provide China with 30,000 barrels a day of crude oil, a deal that should help to narrow the China-Mexico trade gap. And three new Mexico studies centers were recently established in China, presumably in support of growing ties between the two nations.

Even including Chinchilla’s and Peña Nieto’s comments, there were very few overall social media references to China, however. Even Nicolás Maduro and Juan Manuel Santos, who are both very active on Twitter (each sends about 30 tweets per week), made little mention of China over the past six months.  Maduro did mention Beijing’s approval of a $5 billion credit line to Venezuela, however, tweeting:

@NicolasMaduro: [w]e have ratified the strategic  partnership with China, following an extraordinary  meeting with President Xi Jinping!

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