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May 1, 2019 0 Comments

VRIC Monitor: May 2019 Publications

May 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.


The Venezuela crisis continues to serve as a proxy battle by the VRIC nations against the United States. Russia is the most forward-facing member of the alliance with Vladimir Putin threatening to act in the event of U.S. intervention and helping build up the Maduro military with more shipments of riot gear, tear gas canisters, and a new helicopter training facility in Venezuela. But Russia is not Venezuela’s only ally; Nicolás Maduro and his regime are shoring up its international support within the non-aligned movement. Meanwhile, the U.S. tightens sanctions against Venezuela and other ALBA nations, namely Nicaragua and Cuba, adding to the recent measures taken against Iran and Hezbollah, including officially designating the IRGC as a terrorist entity and listing a $10 million reward for information that can disrupt Hezbollah’s financial networks.

As Venezuela takes center stage, its ally Bolivia moves quietly to strengthen its cooperation with VRIC allies and non-ALBA nations in South America. It seems that a strategic play is taking place at the Port of Ilo, Peru potentially providing Bolivia with alternative access to the Pacific Ocean. Moreover, China deepens its financial ties to Latin America with its second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, and Turkey, Qatar, and the UAE are increasing their diplomatic engagement with the region in an effort to form direct commercial ties. April has seen burgeoning activity from all VRIC nations in Latin America, highlighting a notable trend that when one VRIC nation asserts its presence in a particular country, the other allies compound with additional deals and diplomatic engagement further reinforcing the VRIC alliance in Latin America.


Read the full report, here.