The Hispanic ‘anti-red wave’ against Biden’s Latin America policy

While much of the post-election bickering focuses on “red tides” and “blue walls,” there is a real “anti-red tide” sweeping Florida. Led by Hispanic voters, who delivered historic victories for Republican candidates across the country while delivering a stunning rebuke to the Biden administration’s policies to appease communist dictators, socialist governments and Chinese expansion in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Home to America’s largest diaspora of Cubans, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans and Colombians, among these communities in Florida have united the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, Senator Marco Rubio and members of the House of Representatives such as Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Maria Elvira Salazar in an effort to fight the obsession the Biden administration and dismantled the policies – regardless of the consequences – that were designed during the Trump administration to pressure and contain America’s enemies in the region, while strengthening and rewarding America’s friends. The contrast in approach could not be clearer.

Last week, Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro walked the halls of the COP-27 climate summit in Egypt, unconcerned, as he chatted with the likes of French President Emmanuel Macron and US envoy John Kerry. This would have been unthinkable just two years ago, when we led the largest coalition for democracy since World War II, with almost 80 countries recognizing the constitutional government of interim President Juan Guaido, and designed one of the best set of sanctions ever. included in the PdVSA, the Venezuelan oil company used as a piggy bank to bolster the socialist regime throughout the region.

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Mr. Maduro was also indicted on narcotics charges, and a $15 million reward was placed on his capture. The pressure was so unbearable that just weeks before the November 2020 elections, Maduro sent a delegation to discuss the Caribbean location for his exile, should President Donald Trump win re-election.

Meanwhile, in July 2021, Cubans led a national protest inspired by the theme of “Patria y Vida” (“Fatherland and Life”) against a regime severely crippled by new sanctions. These Trump-era sanctions strategically target the military’s monopoly on the economy, and for the first time since the 1996 Freedom Act allows Title III lawsuits against foreign companies that trade in stolen American property. But the regime of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel brutally suppressed these protests, and hundreds of democracy supporters remain in prison without consequence. Instead, the Biden administration is now seeking to normalize relations with Messrs. Diaz-Canel and Maduro.

In Nicaragua, emboldened by the impunity of his allies in Caracas and Havana, President Daniel Ortega has fully transitioned to a totalitarian dictatorship and arrested every opposition candidate, even a priest. This is far from Mr. Ortega to negotiate a democratic transition in the 2019 weight of our executive order and Act Nica, which authorizes and applies sanctions against energy and financial services conglomerates.

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Dictatorships aside, an ideological “red wave” of the elected socialist government has also swept the region, thanks to the flagrant inconsistencies of the Biden administration, which rewards regional criticism of US policy towards Russia and Venezuela, like Mexico and Argentina, with the White House. visit, while it will not even afford minimal commercial benefits to allies in Ecuador and Uruguay. It celebrated the election of “former” terrorist Gustavo Petro in Colombia with a phone call from President Biden within an hour, after earlier keeping his centre-right predecessor, Iván Duque, on ice without contact for months.

The Biden administration has never had a good word for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and accused Central American leaders of corruption – but the excitement over the election of Brazilian socialist leader Lula da Silva, the most corrupt politician in the region’s modern history.

This creates fertile ground for China to expand. In December 2019, we launched an initiative called “America Crece” (“Growth in America”), which consists of energy and infrastructure agreements with countries to stimulate and secure US investment in these sectors, and against Chinese state-owned entities . From the beginning to January 2021, 16 countries in the region signed the “America Crece” agreement, while the last Belt and Road agreement with China in the region was signed in April 2019. In other words, the US runs the scoreboard 16-0. Unfortunately, it was ended on day one by the Biden administration, and the timely “nearshoring” initiative, simply because of partisan shortsightedness.

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Meanwhile, at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which China joined in 2009 after paying a “kickback” of $350 million, three Chinese funds were created to finance nearly 100 projects in Latin America and the Caribbean with more than $6 billion in IDB money. for the past decade – where US taxpayers footed 30% of the bill – is finally being shut down. The issue is ripe for a congressional investigation into how it happened. Instead, the Biden administration is seeking to return these Chinese funds.

The new Congress and its leaders, both Republicans and Democrats, would be wiser to heed the calls of the Hispanic “anti-red” wave and prioritize efforts to reverse Biden’s misguided policies toward the hemisphere. As the saying goes, “good policy is good politics.”

• Mauricio Claver-Carone was deputy assistant to the president and senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs in the National Security Council from 2018 to 2020. He was president of the Inter-American Development Bank from 2020 to 2022.


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