The New Russian Engagement With Latin America: Strategic Position, Commerce, and Dreams of the Past

The New Russian Engagement With Latin America: Strategic Position, Commerce, and Dreams of the Past
The New Russian Engagement With Latin America: Strategic Position, Commerce, and Dreams of the Past
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In many ways, Russia’s expanded engagement in Latin America as a response to escalating tension over the Ukraine was a repetition of its answer to U.S. involvement in the 2008 conflict in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. In the latter conflict, the U.S. deployed naval forces to the Black Sea in response to Russian support for the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia countered with a series of actions in Latin America, including sending nuclear-capable Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela, from where they conducted symbolically-charged flights around the Caribbean. A month later, a four-ship Russian naval flotilla deployed to the area to conduct military exercises with the Venezuelan navy before making port calls in Cuba and Nicaragua. In November 2008, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev traveled to Latin America to participate in the leadership summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, then subsequently hosted both Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in Moscow. Three months later, Bolivian President Evo Morales also traveled to Russia, followed in November 2009 by Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa. Very little beyond journalistic accounts have been written to examine contemporary Russian activities in Latin America and the Caribbean. As Russia’s reassertion of its global position and associated tensions with the United States proceed, a broad understanding of Russia in the Americas becomes ever more important, both as a question of U.S. national security and as an important dynamic shaping the global geopolitical environment. This monograph focuses on the character of the ongoing Russian re-engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean and its implications for the U.S.

R. Evan Ellis is a research professor of Latin American Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, with a research focus on the region’s relationships with China and other non-Western Hemisphere actors. He has presented his work in a broad range of business and government forums in 25 countries on four continents. He has given testimony on Latin America and Carribbean Security Issues to the U.S. Congress, and has discussed his work regarding China and other external actors in Latin America on a broad range of radio and television programs, including CNN International, CNN En Español, The John Bachelor Show, Voice of America, and Radio Marti. Dr. Ellis is cited regularly in the print media in both the United States and Latin America for his work in this area, including The Washington Times, Bloomberg, América Economía, DEF, and InfoBAE. Dr. Ellis has published over 110 works, including China in Latin America: The Whats and Wherefores (2009), The Strategic Dimension of Chinese Engagement with Latin America (2013), and China on the Ground in Latin America (2014). Dr. Ellis holds a Ph.D. in political science with a specialization in comparative politics.


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Students pursuing coursework in international relations, and Russian studies classes will find this text helpful in their research on geo-political issues.  Military strategists, political scientists, military historians, and policymakers may benefit from this thorough analysis of Russia’s activities with Latin American and Carribean territories.

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Defense Dept., Army, Strategic Studies Institute
  • Ellis, R. Evan
Key Phrases:
  • Russia
  • Latin America
  • New Russian Engagement With Latin America
  • Security, International, Latin America
  • Security, International, Caribbean Area
  • Russia (Federation), Foreign relations, Latin America
  • Russia (Federation), Foreign relations, Caribbean Area
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