“Latin America will be one of the pillars of the New World Economic Order,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in an interview with Russia Today published on Aug. 27.
Reflecting the rapidity with which the BRICS development paradigm is advancing, and Latin America’s role within it, Lavrov pointed out that Russia is cooperating with all the nations of Latin America, but particularly with Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Chile, Peru, and Venezuela. Latin America is a vibrant region, he said, which is moving toward the creation of a multipolar world.
Lavrov referenced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “historic” tour of Brazil, Argentina, and Cuba at the time of the mid-July BRICS summit, his participation in the summit itself, and his meetings with twelve Latin American leaders. As part of Putin’s “broad program,” Lavrov underscored, he discussed such crucial topics as energy, transportation, defense, aerospace, and heavy industry, “areas of great interest to all.”
Look at the variety of regional organizations that exist in the region, the Foreign Minister pointed out, all of which are involved in processes of economic integration. “There isn’t one country that doesn’t belong, in one way or another, to at least one integration organization, and,” he emphasized, “we have relations with each one of these alliances, and with all of the countries, without exception, of Latin America.”
From now on, Lavrov stressed, both Russia and its Latin American partners will be meeting on an official basis much more frequently, recalling that Russia has formed state-to-state trade and cooperation commission with many of these nations.
Nicaraguan Inter-Oceanic Canal ]’Will Produce a Radical Change in the Economic Structure of the Caribbean Basin’
A national mobilization is underway to rally the people of Nicaragua around the Great Nicaraguan Inter-Oceanic Canal project. Officials from the government and HKND, the private Chinese company holding the concession to build and operate the canal, held over a dozen meetings and discussions across Nicaragua in the course of July, briefing thousands of citizens and business and community leaders, and answering their questions and concerns about the plans and prospects for this great endeavor. The next step, census-taking of the lands and people along the projected route who may have to be relocated, began this week, a necessary, but sensitive step so that construction can begin as planned in December 2014.
Forget the continuing silly hype pouring out of international and Nicaraguan opposition press, that the canal project is somehow dubious because of “the little known” HKND company and its owner. HKND’s partners in the project are some of China’s most advanced water management, rail, civil aviation and port design companies. Responsibility for designing the canal route proper, for example, is held by the Changjiang Institute of Survey, Planning, Design and Research. That is the institute which was responsible for designing China’s huge Three Gorges Dam project, and it is now responsible for the middle section of China’s great South Water North project. This is an institute which knows its stuff! China Railway Siyuan Survey and Design Group is the lead design contractor for HKND for the project, as well as being in charge of the road sub-project design; Civil Aviation Engineering Consulting Company of China has responsibility for the design of the airport sub-project; and CCCC Second Harbor Consultants has responsibility for the design of the ports sub-project.
Excitement is slowly growing throughout Central America as the project takes shape as a reality, although fear continues in Panama that this means “competition” for their canal expansion project. That fear was answered nicely on August 8 by a regular journalist for Cuba’s Juventud Rebelde daily, Rene Tamayo, in his article, “Navigating the Great Nicaraguan Canal.” Tamayo laid out a perspective for the entire Central American-Caribbean Basin to be transformed into a hub of world development by developing numerous cross-isthmus endeavors.
When both the Nicaraguan and expanded Panama canals are fully operational in the next decade, the increase in the commerce going in both directions between Asia, the Americas and the Atlantic, and Europe, “will produce a radical change in the economic structure of the Caribbean basin. And it won’t be only in the turn-over of the ports and air and ground transportation, but also in manufacturing for export and import substitution, agriculture, tourism, new technologies,” he wrote.
Countries like Cuba, with its Mariel Special Development Zone and China’s agreement to build a multipurpose terminal at Santiago de Cuba’s port, are gearing up for this new perspective. The same is happening in the half-dozen megaports in the region. Mexico and Colombia, and the Central American nations in-between, are each drawing up plans to build “dry canals” —road or rail— across the isthmus. Whichever of these eventually gets built, will generate “a regional industrial, agricultural and services synergy from which the people and the economy will benefit. A hopeful panorama.”
Tamayo went further, taking on the “geopolitical” talk coming from the international press, and undoubtedly being discussed behind closed doors. Such talk is to be expected, he wrote; “however the economic potential of this route will absorb most of the frictions which it will produce,” he wrote. “China is the principal investor; Russia will participate, but the United States is also interested. I think the three countries, when the time comes, will say: ‘this is not personal; this is business.’ The alarmists ought to take this into account.” A most interesting assessment coming from Cuba.