From the Great Wall to the New World: China and Latin America in the Twenty-first Century

In This Review

From the Great Wall to the New World: China and Latin America in the 21st Century
Edited by Julia B. Strauss and Ariel C. Armony
Cambridge University Press, 2012
236 pp. $38.99

This compendium of sophisticated essays probes the rapidly evolving economic, diplomatic, and ideological links between China and Latin American countries. There is no single takeaway, but the thoughtful commentaries collected here note a number of opportunities to be seized and potential dangers to be averted. Striking an optimistic note, Enrique Dussel Peters imagines collaboration between China and Mexico in manufacturing hybrid and electric vehicles for sale throughout North America. Adrian Hearn draws attention to the Chinese diaspora living in Cuba and Mexico, speculating that its members could help broker transpacific cooperation. Particularly interesting is Ruben Gonzalez-Vicente’s mapping of Chinese mining investments in Ecuador and Peru, where, rather than being the instruments of orchestrated Chinese diplomacy, Chinese firms are pursuing their individual commercial interests. Other essays examine Chinese perceptions of Latin America. Official Chinese state rhetoric praises Latin American progress, but some Chinese persist in viewing Latin America in utterly negative terms. Chinese “leftists” continue to romanticize the egalitarianism of Che Guevara, just as Chinese “globalists” criticize contemporary Cuba for the slow pace of its economic reforms.

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