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Experts see the United States' "Growth in the Americas" (America Crece) initiative as a way to counter the growing Chinese presence and reassert control in Latin America.
Intent on countering China's commercial influence in the region, the United States has been actively promoting a private investment program challenging Beijing's involvement in infrastructural developments and energy mega-projects.
Since the umbrella program's launch in December 2019, U.S. State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo has rushed to sign up Colombia, Honduras, Panama, Chile, among other nations in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Guyana and Suriname in his recent visit to the countries, both of whom recently made major offshore oil discoveries.
Seeking to "catalyze private sector investment in Latin America and the Caribbean," America Crece seeks to limit the influence of China's Belt and Road Initiative, the $1.5 trillion foreign and economic policy which already not only has 19 regional partner countries but has secured major mining, energy and transportation contracts for Chinese state-owned and private firms.
“Inside China, a number of academics see America Crece as the US attempt to reassert control over Latin America as its unique area of influence – a new version of the Monroe doctrine,” Rob Soutar, managing editor of Diálogo Chino, said.
Whatever the result of the election, the US are likely to increase their pushback against growing Chinese influence in LatAm.
New program America Crece takes aim at Belt & Road Initiativs
Offering no new budget for regional infrastructure projects, yet giving US-Latin America policy a name and direction, America Crece seeks lucrative contracts for U.S. multinational corporations. Colombian President Ivan Duque called it an "a new phase of Plan Colombia," the 2000-2016 $10 billion aid plan that mostly went to U.S. arms manufacturers and security contractors.
The renewed U.S. foreign policy focus on Latin America not only seeks to antagonize China, attract votes in Florida by demonizing the Latin American Left and gain further influence over the region's infrastructural projects and trade routes but most importantly, secure investment and development contracts for the region's fossil fuel resources, locking Latin America into a high-carbon development pathway for decades to come.