Diálogo Chino’s top stories in 2018

Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil’s presidential election in October, casting doubt on relations with China (image: Mídia Ninja)

Diálogo Chino’s top stories in 2018

In 2018, a wave of presidential elections swept across Latin America, thrusting new regimes’
diplomatic and trade relations with China into the spotlight. After a stealthy touchdown in
Panama in 2017, it was the year President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative
finally landed in the region in earnest. Countries from Chile to Costa Rica inked deals under
the banner of the infrastructure mega-project.

Despite a hectic electoral super-cycle, Diálogo Chino managed to reflect on flagship projects
of years gone by. Relocated by a Chinese company six years ago, we returned to the
Peruvian mining town of Morococha to find a simmering conflict. Meanwhile in Nicaragua,
we examined the evolution of rural protests against the 173-mile Grand Canal as the
government faced a national uprising.

We also focused on pressures on land use and the environment as exporters of Latin
American agricultural products such as avocado and soy responded to booming demand
from China. The 2018 G20 summit in Argentina – the first ever to be held in Latin America –
presented a timely opportunity to assess leading economies’ progress in meeting
longstanding climate targets. The region could aspire to replicate China’s success in
promoting renewable energy, as our May special report found.

Diálogo Chino continued to present fresh perspectives on China, Latin America and the
environment in 2018. Here’s a list of our top stories:

  1. Brazil elects Bolsonaro, champion of anti-China rhetoric
    New Brazilian president-elect Bolsonaro has been vocal about his feelings towards
    China, so what does this mean for trade and investment?
  2. The Chinese mining giant and the ghost town
    Mining giant Chinalco relocated the Peruvian highland town of Morococha to a shiny new
    settlement with electricity and sanitation – but no economic future.
  3. Fossil fuels distance Argentina from G20 goals
    Argentina faces criticism as it fails to steer the G20 away from fossil fuels and towards
    renewable energy.
  4. China’s Belt and Road lands in Latin America
    As China’s Belt and Road Initiative finally incorporates Latin America and the Caribbean,
    Ricardo Barrios explores the costs and benefits.
  5. Chinese ecotourists in hunt for Colombia’s rare cock-of-the-rock
    Ecotourism could generate economic opportunities in rural Colombia, reinvigorating
    conflict-hit parts of the country and protecting its rich avian biodiversity.
  6. Can Mexico become a leader in alternative energies?
    AMLO’s win could mean a greener future for Mexico. He has pledged to reduce the
    countries carbon footprint but also to tap its sizeable oil reserves. Which will prevail?
  7. Avocado boom wreaks havoc on Latin America’s environment
    Avocados are more prevalent in global diets than ever. Yet production is driving
    deforestation and starving producer countries of water.
  8. Last domiciled leaders of Nicaragua’s anti-canal movement arrested
    Opponents of a Chinese businessman’s Grand Canal project face increasing intimidation
    after throwing their weight behind national anti-government protests.
  9. Can other emerging economies follow China’s industrial energy saving success?
    Exploring China’s success in improving industrial energy efficiency and how emerging
    economies such as Brazil could follow suit.
  10. Paraguay’s advancing soy holds back rural communities
    The use of agrochemicals in soy cultivation is associated with severe damage to the
    health, environment, and economic opportunities of those living near plantations.


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