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Jun 1, 2019 0 Comments

VRIC Monitor: June 2019 Publications

June 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  

The first fissure in the VRIC alliance is potentially emerging as Russia negotiates with the U.S. its position on Venezuela. The recent news that Russia’s state defense contractor Rostec is reportedly reducing its personnel in Venezuela has prompted speculation of a Russian withdrawal of support to Nicolás Maduro. Hanging in the balance are Venezuela’s Interim President Juan Guaidó’s efforts to find a solution to transition to free and fair elections. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov holds talks with his Colombian counterpart Carlos Trujillo about the crisis in Venezuela after earlier talks in May with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

As Russia possibly recedes, China aggressively pursues initiating the region’s first 5G networks next year through its controversial tech company Huawei, moving around the company’s recent ban in the United States. China is currently working with Mexico, Argentina, and potentially, Brazil and Colombia to build telecom infrastructure in Latin America. Even in Venezuela, Huawei is working with the Maduro regime to bring a 4G wireless network to the country as the PRC increases its humanitarian support to Venezuela through two additional shipments of medical supplies in May.

Turkey has continued to increase its diplomatic engagement with Latin America, inaugurating a new Paraguayan embassy in Ankara on May 2nd, followed by a visit to Cuba, Mexico, and Guatemala in mid-May by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Turkey’s burgeoning relationship with Iran has introduced a new actor to Latin America, Azerbaijan. While Iran keeps a low profile in the region, Azerbaijan’s recent diplomatic overture to South America and Mexico potentially provides another avenue for the Islamic Republic to advance its proxy networks in the region.

 

Read the full report, here.