Through increasing the level of its cooperation with Brazil and other Latin American countries Russia and China are trying to strengthen their geopolitical influence and presence in this region at a time when the U.S. position in this region has been neglected.
Geopolitical trends in Latin America and the Caribbean took a sharp turn at the beginning of XXI century. Many Latin American leaders have created a new foreign policy aimed at building a multipolar dynamics of global international relations, in an environment that counteracts American unilateralism. With the moratorium in Argentina and its huge economic crisis, most Latin American states disenchanted with the economic policies of the Washington Consensus, prevalent since the nineties. The end of regimes in Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador were accompanied by corruption scandals of unprecedented scale, leading to popular uprisings.
This meant that in South America a new generation of politicians who opposed to the application of the orthodox policies of the Washington Consensus rose to power. Unless Mexico, Colombia and Honduras, this new generation of politicians believes that Latin America should not be limited to free trade agreements with the United States, should reconsider the type of orthodox monetarist policies and should seek diversification of economic and trade policy. They also opposed the U.S. backed Free Trade Agreement of the Americas and U.S. policy interference in the region through Plan Colombia.
President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela is the most extreme example of this new generation of Latin American leaders, who also exercises influence on the Andean countries like Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. His vision is more radical than that of Da Silva in Brazil and Cristina Kirchner in Argentina, who, however, confronts the International Monetary Fund because this country couldn't carry out the restructuring of the economy, and declared to this international organization that they can´t pay the debt.
Since President Putin's visit to Brazil in 2004, trade relations and policies in the region were strengthened. For Russia's strategy, strengthening ties with Brazil is just one step in the development of Russian interests in South America. Russia's good relations with Venezuela and Brazil mean that Russia's influence in these two important countries of the region is growing, and also that bilateral trade and economic exchange are improving. This process will give Moscow a greater presence in both countries, which are most important in terms of geopolitical dynamics of the region.
Therefore, the military balance of power might begin to change dramatically in South America in the coming years. As recognized by the Stratfor intelligence source, the growing economic, military ties, development cooperation in the nuclear and space technology between Russia and Brazil and Venezuela would alter the geopolitical correlation in the Southern American Cone.
Russia, in this regard, has come to terms with the Brazilian government to develop its nuclear industry. Vladimir Putin during his 2004 visit said that Russian companies were interested to help Brazil in the development of a third nuclear plant at Angra do Reis Complex in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Nuclear technology sales to Brazil, combined with the growing Russian-Brazilian cooperation in other areas, are intended to generate foreign exchange and boost high-tech exports to Russia. The nearby Russian-Brazilian ties also expand Moscow's geopolitical influence in Latin America.
A strong domestic nuclear industry would also be strategically advantageous to the external influence of Brazil, as a dominant regional power in Latin America. The creation of a strong and economically successful high-tech industry is a goal of the Brazilian government to increase its geopolitical profile and its international influence. Even if Brazil does not have any intention of building nuclear weapons, a strong potential nuclear industry to produce such weapons would force the powers to conduct its relations with this country more carefully.
Strengthening its strategic partnership with Russia in space technology, Brazil wants, with the help of China and Ukraine, to create a launching rocket center in Alcantara.
Through increasing the level of its cooperation with Brazil and other Latin American countries Russia and China are trying to strengthen their geopolitical influence and presence in this region at a time when the U.S. position in this region has been neglected because of the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq and in general because of the U.S. position to focus its activities in the Middle East. The U.S. position in Latin American region focuses mainly in Colombia and specifically in the Plan Colombia.