On Security

Could There Be a Cold War Reboot in Latin America?

Scott Stewart
VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor
Nov 26, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (second from right) and his Venezuelan counterpart, Vladimir Padrino Lopez (second from left), hold a meeting in Moscow.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (second from right) and his Venezuelan counterpart, Vladimir Padrino Lopez (second from left), hold a meeting in Moscow.

(Vadim Savitsky\TASS via Getty Images)

South America is, once again, in flames. A wave of anti-government protests has ravaged the streets of Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Colombia in recent months. Such chaos, of course, isn't new to the region. From the 1960s to the 1990s, terrorist and insurgent groups instigated a series of vicious Cold War proxy battles. But in this iteration, which I'm calling the "Cold War 2.0" in Latin America, it's not armed proxy groups at play but already existing social tensions that Moscow is adeptly weaponizing to sabotage Western power structures in the region.  Indeed, with threats to Russia's periphery more daunting than ever, it can be argued that the Cold War never really ended for Moscow. But regardless of whether Russia's current actions in Latin America constitute a second Cold War, or if they're instead merely a reinvigoration of the original struggle, it's apparent that many of the same actors are actively...

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