The commander of the U.S. military’s Southern Command (Southcom), which operates in Latin America and the Caribbean, revealed on January 19 that Washington has been pressuring countries in the region to arm Ukraine.
Southcom wants Latin American nations to “replace [their] Russian equipment with United States equipment – if those countries want to donate it to Ukraine,” said Army General Laura J. Richardson.
But Latin America’s left-wing leaders have refused, instead maintaining neutrality and urging peace.
The socialist governments in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua blamed NATO expansion and US meddling for causing the war in Ukraine.
Mexico’s progressive President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) offered to hold peace talks to end the conflict.
And the leftist governments in Bolivia and Honduras have joined Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia in refusing to be part of the proxy war.
Brazil’s Lula Refuses to Send Tank Munitions to Ukraine
Germany announced on January 25 that it would send tanks to Ukraine, in a significant escalation of the NATO proxy war against Russia.
Berlin subsequently asked Brazil to ship tank munitions to Kiev. But newly inaugurated left-wing President Lula da Silva declined to do so.
Lula was a co-founder of the BRICS bloc, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. He has long called for a multipolar world, and supports South-South cooperation and regional integration.
Lula has denounced Western governments for ramping up the violence in Ukraine instead of encouraging peace negotiations.
During his presidential campaign in 2022, Lula criticized the White House, asking, “How can the world’s largest economic power say that it has no milk for children after President Biden announced $40 billion to buy arms meant for the war in Ukraine?”.
In an interview with Time magazine in May 2022, Lula pushed back against Western anti-Russia hysteria and pointed out that Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky “is as responsible as Putin for the war. Because in the war, there’s not just one person guilty”.
“The only position that interests Brazil in terms of the question of Ukraine and Russia is peace,“ he added in October. “The time of war is the time of destruction. The world needs peace, addressing the issue of the climate, and ending hunger”.
Colombia’s Petro Opposes Sending Weapons to Ukraine
Colombia’s first ever left-wing president, Gustavo Petro, revealed that the United States pressured his country as well to give weapons to Ukraine. But he refused to do so, instead urging peace.
In comments at the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Buenos Aires on January 24, Petro noted that Colombia had previously purchased Russian military equipment, “for its own purposes inside the country.”
Washington wants Bogotá to send that Russian equipment to Ukraine, but Petro stressed that his nation’s constitution calls for international peace, and therefore those military technologies “will stay as junk in Colombia.”
“The best that could happen to humanity is peace between Ukraine and Russia, and not prolongation of the war,” the Colombian president tweeted.
“I will not help to prolong any war,” he asserted, calling for “neither invasions nor blockades.”
Argentina’s Alberto Fernández Says Latin America Will Not Arm Ukraine
Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Argentina on January 28. There, he asked President Alberto Fernández to send military equipment to Ukraine.
Fernández declined, instead stating firmly at a press conference that “Argentina and other Latin American countries do not plan to provide weapons to Ukraine, or to any other conflict zone.”
Fernández did criticize Russia for invading Ukraine, but he called for an end to the war, urging peace, not escalation.
Trapped in $44 billion in debt with the U.S.-dominated International Monetary Fund (IMF), Fernández’s government has boosted Argentina’s ties with China and Russia, joining Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Argentina applied to join the extended BRICS+ bloc. It attended the virtual BRICS summits in 2022, at China’s invitation.