The Monroe Doctrine – which in 1823 proclaimed all of Latin America to be a zone of exclusive American interest – is withering away. Globalization and dynamic changes in the economies and politics of its myriad countries is providing Latin America with an opportunity to decrease the scope of its dependency on the United States, and thus to renegotiate, on better terms, its hitherto asymmetric relations with its giant northern neighbor.
Latin America’s increasing integration with the world is the key factor here. China, the world’s rising power, is eagerly strengthening its trade, investment, aid, and cooperation with the region. And Russia, deeply dissatisfied with its perceived second-class treatment by the US, is returning to the region with both business and weapon sales.
Russia may not be openly pursuing a renewed Cold War, but, in enhancing its position in Latin America, it sees itself as ending years of implosion and humiliation.
The Kremlin’s huge weapons sales to Venezuela, and the bilateral military exercises held there, as well as the restoration of security links with Cuba, demonstrate that Russia is willing, once again, to challenge US hegemony in the Caribbean.