Beijing Debunks US Claims of Growing Chinese Influence in Latin America

Secretary of State Tillerson rallies support for Venezuela sanctions

Sec. of State Rex Tillerson to speak at UT

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's first tour of Latin America got off to a rocky start yesterday with U.S. ally Mexico distancing itself from his suggestion that Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro could be toppled by his own military.

"Latin America does not need new imperial powers that seek only to benefit their own people", Tillerson said om Thursday.

Speaking at his alma mater, the University of Texas, Tillerson damned what he called the failed model of Venezuela s "corrupt and hostile" regime and urged Latin American countries to be wary of the United States s emerging rivals for regional influence, China and Russian Federation.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson insisted Friday the U.S. and Mexico are bolstering cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking, brushing aside concerns about the impact of his boss Donald Trump's anti-Mexican barbs.

On Thursday, Tillerson referred to the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, which is widely seen in Latin America as a justification for US armed intervention in the region, saying it was "as relevant today as it was the day it was written". Patricia Zavala, Latin American studies and public affairs graduate student, asked about what can be done to combat government corruption in Latin America. Meantime, China's share of Latin America's imports grew from 3 percent to 18 percent during the same period, according to an Inter-American Development Bank study.

Mr Tillerson also pledged more help in Mexico's fight against drug cartels and Colombia's peace initiative and efforts to cut back on coca production.


Speaking of the influx of illegal drugs, Trump said: "These countries are not our friends". In Trump's world, there seem to be no good Latin American immigrants.

He called on both Cuba and Venezuela to embrace democracy, and said updating the North American Free Trade Agreement and striking other trade deals were a priority.

After Trump took office in 2017, the detente in Cuba-U.S. ties since they resumed diplomatic relations in 2015 after a breakup of more than half a century, was reversed. He also ordered the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Salvadoran and Haitian refugees, and has called for the expulsion of almost 800,000 "DREAMers", or young people raised in the United States, but who were brought here as young children by undocumented parents.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during a joint news conference with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray in Mexico City, Mexico February 2, 2018.

The trip will be an effort to reassure nations that the US remains interested in a region that under President Donald Trump is mentioned mostly as a source of illegal immigrants and crime.

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