Cuba has agreed a new deal with China to upgrade its power grid, inviting Chinese firms to invest and build
It is just the latest of Beijing’s loans, building projects, and investments to Latin America and the Caribbean
China has also rapidly increased trade with the region which rose from $12bn in 2000 to $315bn in 2020
America has been muscled out of its own back yard, as diplomats warn the US is ‘giving up without a fight’
Since 2005, China’s three largest state investment banks have loaned some $140billion to countries in Latin American to pay for everything from nuclear power stations to dams, roads to railways, ports and phone networks.
Billions more – nobody knows quite how many – have been lent via contracts with commercial banks, private finance initiatives and other deals which are opaque and hard to track, though researchers have found they sometimes dwarf deals done on-the-books.
Meanwhile Chinese trade with Latin America has shot up more than 25 times, rising from $12billion in 2000 to $315billion in 2020 as almost half of the countries in the region saw their largest trading partner flip from being the US to China – including three of the four largest economies, in Brazil, Argentina and Colombia.
All of which gives China leverage that it uses to get its own way on the international stage, from winning votes at the UN to isolating its enemies – most notably Taiwan, as Beijing often requires countries to cut diplomatic ties with the island before it will hand over money.
diagram of it all