The announcement of the rupture of relations between Honduras and Taiwan raises the question about the role of the left in the region's position towards relevant issues in the world.
Photos: Flickr-Presidential office, Palácio do Planalto
LatinAmerican Post | Luis Angel Hernández Liborio
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Following the trend of Nicaragua, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic, Honduras has broken its diplomatic relations with Taiwan to establish them with China. In less than five years, the Central American countries, which had been great allies of the Asian island, have changed their position in favor of the Republic of China. Like this issue, there are others that divide the region and that, with their majority political configuration of the left, transform the positions that these countries have towards them.
Taiwan Loses Another Ally
President Xiomara Castro had promised not to approach Beijing. However, he has not resisted the pressure and has had to modify his position. Now, Taiwan has lost an ally with whom it had had relations for eight decades, while Honduras begins a new relationship with a global power. The island could not compete with the “offer” from China, nor with the demands of the Hondurans, who requested greater economic resources and specialized support from the Taiwanese.
China advances in the “siege” of Taiwan, continues to close its circle, and with it increases the isolation of the island that is left with ever smaller allies. Virtually no power recognizes Taiwan, the “one China” policy is consolidating, but it is not free, Honduras will receive the investments it needs and that undoubtedly motivated President Castro to turn to Beijing.
Russia and Ukraine, "Neutrality" in Latin America
Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, three of the main economies in the region, were “neutral” in the face of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Petro, López Obrador and Lula da Silva decided not to side with Russia or Ukraine, at least in the official discourse, since in reality the position of these countries benefits Vladimir Putin. We could trace these positions in the type of left-wing government that has power in these countries, but also in the weight that the fertilizers that Russia provides have in the region. Brazil is the country that has condemned the invasion, Colombia and Mexico do not want to comment, in the latter the 2024 presidential elections could transform this position in favor of Ukraine if the right-wing opposition comes to power. While in Colombia and Brazil the position will continue to be “neutrality”,
With the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors, Latin America's position is very similar to that of China. Honduras and Brazil were precisely the countries that announced the transfer of their embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel, following the United States of Trump, who as an ally of Israel showed his support. However, the changes in government promoted a different policy. Lula da Silva has been critical, since his previous administration, of Israeli interests. In contrast to the Bolsonaro government, Lula did not hesitate to criticize Israel for the irregular settlements in Palestinian territory, nor did he hesitate to reiterate the need for a peace agreement and his availability to mediate. Brazil has offered the same support to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Thus, the largest economy in the region is committed to being a mediator in conflicts and adhering to what was agreed upon at the UN to take positions.
Petro and López Obrador are rather neutral, despite the fact that their respective countries may take critical positions towards Israel at the UN, the reality is that defense and investment issues play a key role in the relationship. The wave of the left that now rules Latin America is more pragmatic and will seek a cordial relationship with Israel and, in contrast to the first wave of the left, move away from a relationship with Iran.
Morocco and Western Sahara
The decolonization of Africa was a slow and unplanned process. The withdrawal of the European powers left power vacuums that generated chaos. Spain withdrew from the territory of Western Sahara in 1975, leaving it to its fate and at the mercy of the interests of Morocco and Mauritania. The Polisario Front, the liberation movement of Western Sahara, resisted and consolidated the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), which is fighting to create a recognized state in the former territory of Spanish Sahara.
The power of Morocco (and its allies) has influenced so that few countries give their recognition to the SADR. Among those countries are several Latin Americans, especially at this time when the left is the majority in the region. He has recently highlighted the call by President Gustavo Petro to include the SADR, and other African countries, in the region's summits. The Latin American tendency towards the SADR has been to support its cause, especially among the countries of the left. Thus, Petro shows his support for the objectives of the Saharawi people, the same position as López Obrador, Luis Arce, Lula da Silva and Nicolás Maduro. The case of Chile is interesting, Boric recognizes and supports the cause of Palestine, but has not openly supported, until now, that of the Saharawi people.