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The Bribing Contest Between Taiwan & China in Latin America

Published October 11, 2021 in Personal Stories & Opinions - 3 Comments

With all the news coming out these days about the “West” challenging China over Taiwan, I can’t help but feel we are on the verge of World War 3.

If it does happen, I just kindly ask China to please not bomb Iowa where my family lives.

New York City?

And we’ll bomb Beijing.

Just leave Iowa out of it and we’ll leave some rural part of your country out of it.

*checks notes*

Uhhhh…..for not bombing Iowa, we won’t bomb Shanxi?

It looks rural enough.

Maybe that’s their rural Iowa, I don’t know.

Either way, leave Iowa out of it!

But given that the elites of Washington and Beijing will never read this blog, I guess my negotiation skills are fruitless.

But it has gotten me thinking about an interesting subject regarding China that relates to this blog.

Which are the efforts by both Taiwan (real China) and China to basically bribe countries in the world for or against the recognition of Taiwan diplomatically.

Of course, we’ll limit the scope of our discussion today to just what happens in Latin America given the nature of my blog.

And it’s an important topic!

When I was in college, I remember hearing a lot about the Chinese efforts to expand into Latin America with examples like the Nicaragua Canal that they apparently had some involvement in.

A project that I haven’t heard about in a while but is one that represents growing Chinese involvement in Latin America.

And while that is a broader topic that we could discuss (and will likely someday), I figured to keep the topic more narrow today.

That being, as said before, on the theme of how both Taiwan (real China) and China have been working a while now to bribe Latin countries to change their diplomatic recognition of Taiwan.

Where fake China doesn’t want any country recognizing that Taiwan exists as an independent country but real China (Taiwan) has been working to get more official recognition.

Let’s dive into some real world examples of how this has played out between both parties who have taken the traditional ol’ route of bribing to get their way.

The Countries in Latin America that Recognize Taiwan

First, let’s establish which Latin American countries currently recognize Taiwan officially as an independent country.

According to this source here, the following Latin American countries recognize Taiwan officially:

  • Belize
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Paraguay

A lot of Central America and Paraguay basically.

Still, as we’ll see, other countries in Latin America did entertain the idea of recognizing Taiwan.

But, as I said, there’s been some bidding war going on for some odd years between China and Taiwan over getting countries to recognize Taiwan or not.

Here’s some examples.

A Bridge of a National Stadium? Which Serves Costa Rica More?

Here’s a funny example of how both countries have been doing their bribing in Latin America.

In Costa Rica, it was once the case that the country recognized Taiwan officially.

In fact, Taiwan even helped build a major bridge over a river and has donated thousands of police cars to Costa Rica.

However, China came out with an offer to build a National Stadium for Costa Rica as long as Costa Rica stopped recognizing Taiwan officially.

Consequently, Costa Rica gave up a friendship for a National Stadium.

I guess you can say that Costa Rica doesn’t put the homies over hoes.

Homies over Hoes -- Boondocks

Still, I guess you could say that maybe Costa Rica should’ve taken advantage of it a bit?

Perhaps go back and forth between Taiwan and China by recognizing Taiwan every so often for a new bribe.

Then change back every so often to get more from China.

If there’s no loyalty here, Costa Rica might as well play both sides to get more free shit.

If I was the President of Costa Rica, I’d be going for more personal favors too.

“Yo China, you got like a 100 hot Chinese gals that can fuck me at the same time in that National Stadium you built? Like a big orgy, right? You do? You know, I never heard of Taiwan in all my life.”

“Oh Taiwan, you got a nice Lamborghini and a free trip to Cancun? I think I can find you on a map.”

It’s just an idea!

Anyway, here’s a source for that story here.

But going back to the idea that I had before, it’s not necessarily the craziest idea on the planet.

I wouldn’t have been the first one to come up with the idea!

Maybe I’d fit in as a corrupt Latin American leader, you think?

Recognition of Taiwan for 140 Million in El Salvador

I’m a humble man, aren’t I?

I don’t need a 140 million to recognize Taiwan.

A simple 5 million would be good.

And don’t forget the orgy with those 100 Chinese gals nor the Lamborghini…

But, as you can read here, an ex-president of El Salvador named Francisco Flores took in 140 million to keep relations with Taiwan in the early 2000s.

Though, in his defense, he claims that he never used any bit of the money for himself!

Specifically the money was used, in his words, to help earthquake victims and fight narcotrafficking.

Not sure I buy that but OK…

Especially given that it seems like the money in question wasn’t very publicly well known and he couldn’t specify how much went to fighting “narcotrafficking.”

Anyway, that president is long gone.

And, only a few odd years ago, El Salvador switched to recognizing China instead as you can see here.

And what could China have done to get this diplomatic change? Look at this source here.

“El Salvador had earlier allegedly requested financial support from Taiwan to develop a port, which Taipei was unable to provide. The PRC, however, guaranteed El Salvador of an immense infrastructure package and in addition, an assurance to promote Chinese tourism. Taipei called out Beijing’s “out of control” behavior and accused it of “dollar diplomacy”, indicating that Taiwan would not entertain a similar policy or a possible bidding war. The United States responded to the diplomatic realignment with a statement decrying San Salvador’s receptiveness to overtures from China and threatening a reevaluation of the Salvadoran-American relationship.”

What’s interesting also is that last sentence regarding the US reaction to this.

It shows how a country recognizing China over Taiwan invites US ire also as you can see in this source here citing the response of US officials in Congress.

"El Salvador has made the wrong decision regarding Taiwan, and it will negatively influence US relations with El Salvador. The US govt must stand up to China's campaign to bully Taiwan with every tool we have," said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) in a tweet.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted, "Why should we keep sending them [El Salvador] so much foreign aid? Today I will begin work to end that."

So the calculus some countries have to make isn’t just a matter of how much money one country offers over another.

But also said country has to take into consideration the US response.

Seems oddly familiar to the Cold War with the Soviet Union in some ways…

But let’s move on.

Worry of a Change in Honduras?

As we established before, Honduras is one of the few countries to recognize Taiwan in Latin America.

And Taiwan has given its fair share of donations to make sure that relationship continues.

As you can read here, Taiwan offered 30,000 Covid vaccines to both Honduras and Paraguay.

And this article here shows how Taiwan offered plenty of money to help the victims of Hurricane Eta in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

But is their relationship a sure thing?

Well, domestic politics has a lot of importance.

As you can see here, there’s been election drama going on in Honduras.

“Honduras' main left-wing opposition party, led by ousted former president Manuel Zelaya, said on Sunday if it wins November's presidential election it will seek to "readjust" the country's debt and establish diplomatic relations with China.”

And perhaps we can understand why Taiwan might’ve given plenty of Covid vaccines to Taiwan recently with this source here looking at previous tensions between Taiwan and Honduras despite the risk of a leftist candidate winning office.

“This is not the first time that voices within the Honduran government have expressed their preference for relations with China. Less than four months ago, when the Central American nation was experiencing a shortage of coronavirus vaccines, it attempted to buy them from Beijing.

The nation’s chief cabinet coordinator, Carlos Alberto Madero, told the Financial Times that being Taiwan’s ally had prevented it from acquiring vaccines from China. He warned that Tegucigalpa may switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing, as access to vaccines was "much more urgent than anything else.”

But will the leftists win in Honduras?

According to this source here, the main leftist candidate as of right now is getting 18% of the support in the polls while the candidate of the ruling party is ahead at 21%.

So it’s close!

We’ll see what the future holds anyway when it comes to this.

But the example above with the vaccine situation in Honduras anyway does illustrate a quick and interesting point to bring up with this topic.

Vaccine Diplomacy in Latin America

As you can read here, China doesn’t appear to want official relations with countries that recognize Taiwan officially.

Consequently, countries that recognize Taiwan are not able to get vaccines from China to deal with the Covid situation domestically.

With some countries like those in Central America (Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua) and Paraguay being more limited in the vaccines they can get.

As that article last cited shows, China knows that some of these countries are under pressure and has been trying to change minds on Taiwan’s status in their countries by offering vaccines.

As we saw in the case of Honduras, it definitely has weighed on the minds of leaders in that country.

What about Paraguay?

Well, as that article shows, the US tried persuading Paraguay to not change their status diplomatically with Taiwan with this interesting quote also.

“While Acevedo has made it clear that Paraguay will not accept any vaccine deals with conditions related to diplomatic relations, Taiwan is paying attention, and helped Paraguay secure 2 million doses of India’s Covaxin, over 300,000 of which already arrived in the country.”

And that’s an interesting example all around to look at.

In many ways, Paraguay is arguably one of the stronger allies that Taiwan has in all of the Americas from my understanding.

Paraguay and Taiwan: Great Amigos?

Speaking of healthcare assistance, Taiwan has also done other things for Paraguay like with the different projects you can read about here to help their healthcare system.

Outside of healthcare, Taiwan also has a program called Che Tapyi to build 3,600 homes in Paraguay to impoverished communities as you can read here.

Then you have an educational aspect to all of this with Taiwan offering students in Paraguay scholarships to study in Taiwan that you can read about here.

For more extensive information on the relationship between Taiwan and Paraguay, check out this article here.

Still, while Paraguay was able to remember all that Taiwan has done for it and not change its diplomatic relations despite the Covid vaccine issue mentioned before…

Not every country in Latin America has been willing to stay aligned with Taiwan long term.

A Caribbean Change

The Dominican Republic used to recognize Taiwan officially until a few odd years ago.

It used to be the case that Taiwan offered a lot to the Dominican Republic, including agricultural products, student scholarships for Dominicans to study in Taiwan and more.

But then it all changed as you can read here.

“China offered the Dominican Republic a $3.1 billion package of investments and loans to get them to sever ties with Taiwan, a Taiwan official said on Tuesday, after the Caribbean nation switched allegiance to China in a diplomatic blow to the self-ruled island.

That included $400 million for a new freeway, $1.6 billion for infrastructure projects and $300 million for a new natural gas power plant.

“It was a cost that Taiwan could not match,” the official said.

And it’s not just the Dominican Republic that has changed its diplomatic stance.

A Friendship Broken Between Taiwan and Panama

Funny enough, Panama ended its relationship with Taiwan around the same time that the Dominican Republic did.

China has been busy with the bribing!

Back when it happened, Panama was able to secure the following with China as you can read here.

“Speaking to reporters after Chinese President Xi Jinping and Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela signed 19 deals, including a feasibility study on a free trade agreement, Zhao Bentang, who heads the Chinese foreign ministry’s Latin America department, said their ties were not based on money.

Last month, a group including China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) began building a $165 million port in Panama for cruise ships, the first project announced between China and Panama since they established diplomatic ties.”

The result for Taiwan? More on that here.

“Taiwan would immediately end cooperation with and assistance for Panama, and evacuate embassy and technical personnel “in order to safeguard our national sovereignty and dignity”, Lee said.”

Poor Taiwan…

Well, at least they have a friend in Guatemala!

Or maybe GuateBUENA?

Haha jaja haha jaja haha….

A Taiwanese Relationship with Guatemala

I told you once and I’ll tell you again!

If I was a corrupt President of a Latin American country, I’d definitely be playing both sides here.

You see…

A lot of these Latin presidents have been fucking up opportunities.

Like Honduras caring so much about vaccines or the Dominican Republic wanting a natural gas power planet?

Fuck that limp dick noise.

I don’t care about that.

If I was a President of a country down here, I’d be picking sides based on my own personal benefit.

Whoever can offer me Asian supermodels to fuck me and more money in bribes wins my love.

Money & Hoes. Money & Hoes.

With the music below being my theme song as I rake in the rewards.

A2M -- I Got Bitches

And you know what?

Some people have my way of thinking!

As you can see here, a former President of Guatemala known as Alfonso Portillo took in 2.5 million dollars from Taiwan “in exchange for his diplomatic recognition of the Asian country.”

I’m so fucking jealous right now.

All I got to do is be a President of some random Latin country and I get free shit like that?

Someone should’ve told me earlier…

Anyway, as I said before, Guatemala still recognizes Taiwan as a country.

And is current Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei getting his own 2.5 million delivered by big tittied Asian gals in thin bikinis?

I have no idea!

But, man to man, I hope he’s getting his fair share.

Make Taiwan send over a free bottle of champagne too!

The Greater Importance of it All for Latin America

On the surface, I think it’s all interesting for sure this effort by both countries to outbid each other for diplomatic favors.

Though, as hinted at under the section of El Salvador, I think it all represents greater geopolitical importance.

This is much bigger than Taiwan if we are being honest.

With each year, we see the US increasingly taking a more active focus towards handling China.

In which you see examples of the US trying to carry political and economic weight in China’s own backyard like with this security alliance that you can read about here for example.

Among other activities held by the US.

Similarly, for a long time now, I can remember examples of China trying to have more influence in Latin America.

As you can read here, China obviously has huge agricultural and mineral needs and so it has bought plenty of resources from countries like Chile or Brazil for example.

But, on top of that, it has done other things like entertain the idea of a Nicaragua Canal as you can read here.

Going forward, if the US and China don’t have a direct war, I very much predict that a Cold War will happen between both countries.

If we’re not there already!

Then the question becomes the following for those of us who live in Latin America: “How does a new Cold War impact the region?”

As we saw in the last Cold War with the Soviet Union, there were examples of the US and Soviet Union taking their stake in the region.

The result?

Worsening civil wars, overthrowing governments and more.

How will it all play out for Latin America this time?

Another round of being the playground of world powers?

Leaving behind many dead with societies and economies set back decades.

We’ll see!

Hopefully not though.

Here’s a video anyway on the idea of a new Cold War between the US and China over Taiwan. 

Among all the other content regarding a new Cold War potentially happening.

At any rate, if you have anything to add, drop a comment below in the comment section.

And follow my Twitter here.

Thanks for reading.

Best regards,

Matt

3 comments

Dazza - October 19, 2021 Reply

Not so much ‘bribing’ but more ‘Quid Pro Quo’ and that is Peru and their FTA with China, one of a select few countries to have one with China and this is the golden grail for a lot of countries with a Pacific coastline because you can then ship your stuff to a market of 1.5 billion people – a lot of fruit and veg here in China is sourced from Peru and it is easy enough to get Peruvian products here (I love my maca and that is easy enough to get here without paying a fortune…) still can’t get coca tea though but never mind.

But the Chinese are in Peru, helps to have an ethnic Chinese population and a history of Chinese settlement. The Chinese are investing heavily in Peru because it supplies a lot of copper which helps with all their building projects here and abroad.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-peru-china-idUSKCN1IX5WW#:~:text=LIMA%20%28Reuters%29%20-%20China%E2%80%99s%20COSCO%20Shipping%20Holdings%20Co,nation%2C%20China%E2%80%99s%20ambassador%20to%20Peru%20announced%20on%20Friday.

The countries facing Europe gained great riches in the early 20th century – ask any proud Argentinian and they will tell you that Argentina was the eight richest country in the world at one point – all those South American countries that faced Europe – Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay got rich from shipping food and raw goods to Europe – now China is on the ascendancy it is the turn of the Pacific countries of the Americas to cash in – Peru is cashing in at the moment and the lot of it is Chinese money but what they have going with the Chinese won’t be open to all in Latin America – it is all about vested and shared interests.

    Matt - October 21, 2021 Reply

    Quid Pro Que or bribery — similar idea. I’ll give you x if you do y.

    Interesting how Peru has its history and relationship with China.

    You mention how “Pacific countries are cashing in” but I also wonder how that relates to other trends. For example, you have the Pacific Alliance that you can see here of Latin countries on the Pacific having their own trade bloc. Many of them (like Chile, Mexico, Colombia) being known to be relatively more pro US.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Alliance

    In contrast, it’s been the talking point that those more on the Atlantic side of not being always so pro US like Argentina or Venezuela (countries in Mercosur). Of course, all of the above are just talking points. Politics changes all the time. Brazil with Bolsonaro was more pro US when Trump was in office and even now Bolsonaro doesn’t seem as pro China.

    And you have the same with Mexico. AMLO had an easier time working with Trump than Biden in some regards or, at least from my perspective, it seemed like thw two had a better relationship.

    But China is rising nonetheless as it has been for a while. I’ve been thinking a war is likely between China and US within the next decade but I think that really comes down to how committed the US is to defending Taiwan or if China would attack US bases in Japan while simultaneously attacking Taiwan out of the belief that the US would intervene anyway. Still, who knows if it’ll happen. People talked of a hot war between the US and the Soviets for a long time and it almost did a few times but never happened. Mostly just proxy wars.

    Still, it’s typical of rising powers to try to dominate their region before expanding globally. That’s what I see China doing. Similar to the US having its Monroe Doctrine and then expanding outward once Latin America was more firm in its hands.

    All this talk these days of a war between the two has made me more seriously contemplate getting my residency, citizenship and second passport in a Latin country like Mexico already. Of course, in the case of proxy wars happening, Latin America doesn’t have a good track record at least in the last Cold War with countries like Chile, Cuba, Nicaragua and others getting caught up in the mess.

Dazza - October 22, 2021 Reply

I think the relationship between Peru and China is purely economic… at the moment…

Peru has things that China wants and they have easy access via their sea links. The FTA’s China has (they only have about fourteen or so…) are strategically placed to serve China’s economic interests… the three in Latin America are Peru, Chile and Costa Rica with the Panamanians negotiating one. Of course, once these countries are used to Chinese money improving everything then the Chinese will have a bigger say in how things are run, especially with their physical investments within the country.

Apart from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Argentina under Kirchener/Brazil under Lula – most Latin American countries have a realistic viewpoint with their relationship with Uncle Sam – it isn’t a good idea to get on the wrong side of them, up until now US business have been investing heavily into China so I suppose Latin American countries who are able to cut themselves a piece of the action were able to do so without annoying Washington DC but now the China-US relationship is starting to change for the worse – they might now have to pick a side which is going to be a very very awkward choice for the likes of Peru, Chile and the Costa Ricans. The building boom in Lima and all over Peru is down to Chinese money and investment – take that way and that’s a big loss.

Do I think there will be a war between the US/Western alliance and China? I don’t think so but then who knows? The Chinese don’t want a war and realistically they can’t afford one because they rely on the world to buy their crap – also – they aren’t able to feed themselves which is why these FTA’s with the likes of Peru are so important. How China raises revenue is based on the world wanting to buy Chinese goods – if they are at war with their customers and the boycotts start to happen then they’ll run out of money – if a war does happen then that is because that is what The West wants. I am here in China and I can tell you they’re not happy about these developments but here’s hoping it is just confined to sabre rattling.

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