Date: July 10, 2020
By Lucy Hale
As Latin America becomes the global epicenter for COVID-19, countries in the region are leveraging their international relationships to secure vital medical aid. This has provided an opportunity for global powers vying for influence in the region, including the United States and China, which are donating and selling critical supplies. Smaller countries have also deployed “mask diplomacy” to extend their influence in the region.
This includes Taiwan, whose success containing COVID-19 has boosted its global standing, including in Latin America, where it has been losing ground to its powerful neighbor in recent years.
For Taiwan, Latin America has long been an important source of diplomatic support. Its regional allies give Taiwan a voice in international institutions, and offer an excuse for Taiwanese officials to stop by the United States en route to Latin America. For this reason, “it’s of strategic importance” that Taiwan’s Latin American allies “remain in its bosom,” the Wilson Center’s Shihoko Goto said on “Two the Point.”
Lately, however, lawmakers in several countries that recognize Taiwan are voicing concerns that they are foregoing significant aid from China. This debate recently played out in the legislature of a longtime Taiwanese ally, Paraguay. [FULL STORY]