Russia is increasingly courting leaders in Latin America, particularly the left-leaning ones, in an apparent bid designed to weaken the U.S. influence in the Western Hemisphere.
A few weeks ago, Russia hosted Argentinean President Alberto Fernandez at the Kremlin, where he vowed that his country would reduce its reliance on the United States.
Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, president of Latin America’s biggest economy, met Russian President Vladimir Putin barely days before the latter ordered troops into Ukraine.
As he began amassing troops along the country’s border with Ukraine, Putin called his counterparts in Cuba, Venezuela as well as Nicaragua.
Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega, who is increasingly becoming a pariah on the international stage, talked with Putin over the phone for several minutes, according to The New York Times.
Citing comments from Russian officials, the news daily says Russia may even deploy nuclear missiles to its friendly countries in Latin America.
Unlike China, Russia is not investing in Latin America to woo its leaders. Considering the report, Putin is trying to take advantage of the local dissidence against the US.
The COVID-19 pandemic offered the greatest opportunity for Russia to win the hearts and minds of LatAm leaders. The Kremlin supplied millions of doses of vaccines to Argentina, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Paraguay at a time the United States was busy vaccinating its own citizens.