Publications

Apr 1, 2019 0 Comments

VRIC Monitor: April 2019 Publications

April 2019
The VRIC Monitor is a one-of-a-kind, monthly report from SFS tracking extra-regional influence in Latin America. VRIC stands for Venezuela, Russia, Iran,China where Venezuela represents the Bolivarian Revolution and the broader Bolivarian Alliance or ALBA. Likewise, Iran represents the Iranian Revolution and a growing presence of Middle Eastern actors in Latin America, namely its chief proxy, Hezbollah. The monitor is comprised of open source information selected by SFS analysts and fellows. This is not a complete list of media reports on VRIC presence in Latin America, but a snapshot of open-source media highlighting the major areas of VRIC influence.

OVERVIEW  

As international pressure mounts against the Maduro regime in Venezuela, its extra-regional allies Russia, Iran, and China continue offering various forms of aid: Russia is providing military support, China is protecting critical infrastructure, and Iran is voicing support for the Maduro regime through state-run media. In March, Russia and China have supplied Venezuela with military technicians and more humanitarian aid. With additional U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s state mining agency, Minerven, and its chief executive, the Maduro regime is increasingly relying on VRIC support to find alternative sources of revenue and financial channels to evade sanctions.

As Venezuela continues to dominate headlines worldwide, the VRIC nations are operating throughout the region. Russia and China prompt a nuclear energy race in Latin America, with China engaging in nuclear talks with Argentina and Russia collaborating on Bolivia’s nuclear program. Whereas, Brazil starts to edge out China to work closer with the U.S. on the heels of a historic visit to Washington, D.C. on March 17-19 by President Jair Bolsonaro.

 

Read the full report, here.

Mar 1, 2019 0 Comments

VRIC Monitor: March 2019 Publications

March 2019
The VRIC Monitor is a one-of-a-kind, monthly report from SFS tracking extra-regional influence in Latin America. VRIC stands for Venezuela, Russia, Iran, China where Venezuela represents the country itself, but also the broader Bolivarian Alliance or ALBA. Likewise, Iran represents the Islamic Republic and a growing presence of Middle Eastern actors in Latin America, namely its chief proxy, Hezbollah. The monitor is comprised of open source information selected by SFS analysts and fellows. This is not a complete list of media reports on VRIC presence in Latin America, but a snapshot of open-source media highlighting the major areas of VRIC influence.

OVERVIEW  

In February, the VRIC alliance has focused primarily on propagandizing the ongoing crisis in Venezuela while the United States has sent medical supplies, foodstuffs, and hygiene kits to the Colombian-Venezuelan and Brazilian-Venezuelan borders. The Maduro regime blocked U.S. humanitarian aid but has welcomed millions in Russian aid, as well as military technology and defense support from Russia and China. The battle over humanitarian aid played out in the UN Security Council session on February 26, where Russia and China vetoed the U.S. resolution to call for free and fair elections and approve U.S. humanitarian aid to Venezuela. Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin plans a future trip to Bolivia in the spring to discuss the Venezuela crisis and increase Russia’s role with the ALBA bloc.

The increasing U.S. sanctions on Venezuela have introduced new Middle Eastern actors to the VRIC alliance. Cuba has reportedly turned to Qatar for oil, while Turkey served as a destination for 23 tons of gold from Venezuela last year. An additional eight tons of gold have recently been removed from Venezuela’s central bank as its president, Calixto Ortega, was on a trip to Turkey, Russia, and China. The PRC is leveraging its economic clout in the region to advance its diplomatic overtures in the Caribbean and signed major lithium deals in Bolivia and Chile. Lastly, Latin America is seeing the rise of a new trade partner and a competitor to China: India, who has increased its profile this past month in terms of trade and investment to the region.

 

Read the full report, here.

Dec 17, 2018 0 Comments

SITREP: Central American Caravans Publications, Situation Report

This Situation Report covers the recent crisis driven by mass migration from Central America through Mexico to the United States southwest border. The report details the route taken by the Central American caravans, focusing on the transit from Honduras to Mexico through Guatemala, and describes how Irregular Migrants (I/M) and Special Interest Aliens (SIA) are moving within and around the various caravans. The report highlights the irregularities of the caravans, particularly the route selected, and provides a threat assessment as to how this form of forced migration could function as a logistical train to potentially destabilize the region and delegitimize the United States.

SFS scholars traveled to Guatemala in late October and observed the movement of the migrant caravans from Central America in close coordination with the Guatemalan government and local authorities. They visited two border crossings and spoke with immigration and intelligence ouicials from Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.

The US tendency to overlook Latin America in formulating foreign policy has resulted in a void of accurate information. SFS stays committed to providing up-to-date analysis and has consistently emphasized the importance of Latin America to US foreign policy and national security. Our field research and detailed analysis is carefully constructed so that US policymakers can count on a proper threat assessment.

This Situation Report (SITREP) provides research, writings, and testimony from scholars, senior fellows, and international fellows of the Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS), as well as information from other scholars and international news outlets analyzing the crisis stemming from the Central American caravans.

Download a PDF of the SITREP, here.

Download a PDF of the Route Survey, here.