The Latin Americans are not stupid. They negotiated freely with China for loans and infrastructure development. And they are paying in kind, mainly oil, and other raw material, that the Chinese would have to pump up themselves. In turn, the Chinese have pumped in billions of dollars into Latin American countries. Ecuador alone is receiving tens of billion in dam building that would provide enough electricity to light up one third of the country, according to the NYT article. China is also helping Ecuador to build an oil refinery that would make Ecuador ‘a global player in gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products’. Bad deal, cheated by China?
The Chinese are also building ‘roads, highways, bridges, hospitals, even a network of surveillance cameras stretching to the Galapagos islands’. These infrastructure developments are badly needed by Ecuador to transform itself into a modern industrialized country, something that the west and their formal colonial masters refused to do while extracting all the natural resources for free.
When Ecuador takes off, it would be a show piece to show to the world what Chinese money, technology and engineering could do to rebuild a country. Singapore taught the Chinese how to build an industrial park. China learnt from it and is helping the world to rebuild their countries’ infrastructure and industrial parks. China is helping the developing nations to move up the economic ladder on fair and equitable terms. China is doing everything, providing financing, technology and manpower. The West would not do that. Obama just visited Kenya and talked about helping Africa to develop after the West had colonized and looted African for centuries. And they are the good guys.
The NYT did not miss the opportunity to sabo the Chinese effort in these countries by playing up on higher interest rate, which was anytime better than letting the western powers robbed them for free and meddling with their domestic politics. It also complained about Chinese methodology that would harm the environment and what not. The NYT is assuming that the Latin Americans are daft and could not understand what they are going into and their agreements signed with Chinese companies. If these were bad deals, why would they agree to them when China did not bring their warships and guns like the colonialist and the Americans?
The hard truth, and testimonies to the value Chinese companies are offering to the rest of the world was when they held an economic development conference in Beijing. Global financial and corporate elite and heads of major banks and pharma, auto and oil companies came to mingle with the Chinese officials. And according to Christine Lagarde, MD of IMF, China’s effort to engage globally through investment and trade and economic reforms, ‘is good for China and good for the world – their fates are intertwined’.
China is all over the world investing in infrastructural developments. Just to quote a para from the NYT article, ‘Chinese companies are at the centre of a worldwide construction boom, mostly financed by Chinese banks. They are building power plants in Serbia, glass and cement factories in Ethiopia, low income housing in Venezuela, and natural gas pipelines in Uzbekistan.
Not really all over the world as many South East Asian countries are still pondering on what China could offer under the dark cloud of doubts spun by their former colonial masters and the West, that China is bad, China is bad like Red Indians were bad, Red Indians bad. They could not remember that the centuries of colonialism and western domination did not do them much good except being robbed by the very robbers that are telling them China is bad and filled them with imaginary fears and hate against China. On the other hand, the rest of the world, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America did not have the same fear and apprehension and are welcoming Chinese developments in full force on a complimentary basis. The West are telling the South East Asian countries to demand China to go it for free, and China to pay for it as well.
It would take a long time before the South East Asian countries could break free from their colonial mindset, fixed and implanted by their colonial masters and the West over centuries to look at China objectively. China is not there to colonise them but to trade, to help them rebuild their countries with a proven blue print, successfully implemented in China and now sharing with the rest of the world. What did their colonial masters left them after centuries of colonial rule and looting? What have their colonial masters and the West to offer them today other than military pacts and more weapons of war?
The joke, they trust their ex colonial masters more than a China that has never stepped foot on their shores. They trust their conquerors more than China that never had a soldier in their land nor kill any of their people.