China has the next step from stronger economic ties with the impoverished Central American nation by apparently laying the groundwork for a possible military presence. According to the South China Morning Post,
Collin Koh, a naval affairs expert at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said it would be far-fetched to say Beijing saw ports as “potential bases”, but it was clear that it was seeking to acquire or help develop overseas ports in strategic locations that could serve its long-term interests.
“To build a base in this region may run the risk of provoking a stronger US response, even as we can still entertain the idea of the occasional access to port facilities by the People’s Liberation Army Navy,” Koh said.
The presence of China in Central America is not new; since May 2017, the communist nation has sought influence among the Panamanian government and speculated the building of a modernized canal in Nicaragua. This move is in line with the larger scheme of maneuver among both China and Russia in South and Central America of fostering leftist governments favorable to their influence and interests, most notably the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, along with longtime communist ally Cuba. The nations are building hegemony in the region to directly challenge the United States much closer to home- the same strategy of the 1970s-80s carried out in an even more favorable environment with a heightened internal decay inside the domestic US. Putting this into perspective, calling the so-called ‘migrant caravan’ an invasion force makes a bit more sense, doesn’t it?