Extortions against Russia hit Latin America
By Hedelberto López Blanch
April 21, 2022
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The war situation between Russia and Ukraine, together with the numerous extortions that the United States and its allies have imposed against Moscow, not only hit economically this nation but also Latin American countries.
One of the most affected is Ecuador because, if in 2021, 20% of the bananas it exported were destined to Russia (about 85 million boxes) now it has nowhere to place them and they will be spoiled with the consequent monetary loss.
Last year Ecuador obtained 706 million dollars for banana exports to the Eurasian giant; 142 million dollars for shrimp; 99 million dollars for flowers; 28 million dollars for fish and 17 million dollars for coffee.
Paraguay had Russia as its second buyer of beef and in 2021 it sent 79 213 tons which represented an income of 314 million dollars and now with Moscow’s disconnection from the international banking system (swift) it does not know how to collect or send the product.
Something similar is happening with Brazil. In the previous period, Brazil sold soybean to Russia for 343 million dollars; 167 million for poultry meat; 133 million for coffee and 117 million for beef.
As for Mexico, it sent cars, computers, beer, tequila and other products to that nation and bought fertilizers. If it lacks this supply, agriculture will suffer losses and food will become more expensive.
This situation will lead to a worsening of the economic crisis in those nations with the consequent wage cuts, layoffs of workers and price hikes.
The enormous pressures exerted by the United States for Latin American nations to join the Russophobia policy it has imposed on the planet by controlling the main communication media, may increase these problems.
For example, an intergovernmental cooperation agreement between Russia and Argentina for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, particularly in the areas of basic and applied research, construction and operation of nuclear power plants and reactors, would be halted.
In addition, Moscow has expressed its interest in participating in a tender for the construction of a dry storage facility for spent nuclear fuel at the Atucha II nuclear power plant in the South American nation.
Washington uses all kinds of extortion to that end: political influence, economic promises and blackmail, as was the case during the recent vote at the UN General Assembly to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. After the vote, several delegates expressed that for various reasons they had been forced to vote that way.
Due to the impact of the Western “sanctions” war, the supply of fertilizers has been affected, which poses a threat to Latin American farmers, but is advantageous for the United States, which manufactures large quantities of fertilizer. Already, U.S. producers are looking to increase exports to countries in the region.
Fertilizer prices are currently at an all-time high and in the first quarter of 2022, they rose by 30%, which exceeds those reached in 2008 during the global financial crisis.
Due to the “sanctions”, shipments from Russia have been interrupted and this country is one of the main producers and exporters globally.
Moscow is the largest exporter of nitrogen fertilizers and the second-largest exporter of potash and phosphorus fertilizers.
In 2021 the Eurasian giant shipped fertilizers worth $12.5 billion. Among its main buyers were Brazil and the European Union with 25% respectively, and the United States with 14%.
As is to be expected, if the fertilizers do not arrive, agricultural production in these countries will be greatly affected.
This complex scenario comes at a time when the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported that the food price index reached an all-time high of 159.3 points in March, while in February it had already beaten the record since the creation of the cost index in 1990.
The agency added that among the five categories that make up the index, four have never recorded such high prices: vegetable oils (248.6 points), cereals (170.1), dairy products (145.2) and meat (120.0).
Two of the categories increased their prices in February due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict: cereals by 17% and vegetable oils by 23%. These countries together export 30 % of the wheat and 20 % of the corn consumed in the world.
The present and future prospects for the Latin American economies are considered difficult because they will have to face the high costs of food products, without yet recovering from the enormous losses caused by the covid-19 pandemic.
As a corollary, it can be stated that the string of extortions imposed by the United States, not only to Russia but to more than 30 countries in the world, are leading several Latin American nations into an abyss.
Hedelberto López Blanch, Cuban journalist, writer and researcher.