Brazilian authorities are allowing the country to fall into the Chinese debt trap

Despite Brazil not being part of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), the Brazilian Congress established a Brazil-China Parliamentary Group. It doesn’t seem concerned about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) interference and espionage in the national territory. A data leak in December 2020 revealed by the Epoch Times and the Australian Sky News TV showed that 2 million CCP members are infiltrated in defense and IT companies around the world.

While facing political instability, economic crisis, infrastructure bottlenecks and shortage of capital, Brazil needs investments and the current question is whether the money will come from the USA or China. Since the 1990s, Chinese presence has grown significantly in the Brazilian territory through infrastructure projects and investments in natural resources and agribusiness in order to give China food security and meet its industrial demands. Since 2009, China has been Brazil’s largest international trade partner.

Brazilian agribusiness exports to China in 2019, for example, totalized US$ 26,6 billion, including 80% of the soy produced in Brazil, so was the majority of the exports of chicken, pork, and meat. Chinese state company Cofco Agri has entered Brazilian market in 2016, acquiring sugar and alcohol plants in the states of São Paulo and Mato Grosso.

Another target of Chinese investments is on the mineral resources, since Brazil has 22 million tones of rare earth metal reserves, just behind China, holding 44 million tones. In São Luís, in the northern state of Maranhão, US$ 500 million were invested to build the Itaqui Port, strategically located near the Panama Canal, USA East Coast, and China.

The Chinese influence in Brazilian media is observed by the payment made by CCP-controled China Daily to the newspapers Folha de São Paulo and Correio Braziliense. According to United States Department of Justice data released on June 1, 2020, Folha de São Paulo (registered as “Folha da Manhã S.A.”) received US$ 405,000 to share China Daily’s content from 2016 to 2020, and Correio Braziliense received nearly US$ 109,000. Between November 2017 and April 2018, Brazil Editora Globo S.A. received US$ 75, 860,00. In 2019, TV Bandeirantes, one of the main TV stations in Brazil, has signed a partnership with China Media Group, foreseeing joint productions and relations with China and Chinese culture.

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Since we can’t ignore the COVID-19 pandemic, a Chinese representative known as Marcos Zheng was arrested in São Paulo for theft of coronavirus tests. In all, 15 boxes with 14,500 kits have been located, as well as an ax, knife, Chinese coins, US dollars and Brazilian Reais. Five firearms, including a .40 caliber carbine, a 12-caliber shotgun and three .380 caliber pistols have also been found; and 435 boxes of disposable face masks containing more than 2 million units. Marcos Zheng presented himself as president of the Shanghai Chamber of Commerce and has already participated in meetings with several Brazilian public authorities, including the mayor of Mogi das Cruzes (São Paulo state) and former São Paulo’s governor Geraldo Alckmin.

Brazil Uncovered - One of the meetings between Marcos Zheng and authorities from the government of the state of São Paulo
One of the meetings between Marcos Zheng and authorities from the government of the state of São Paulo

These examples make it clear that the Chinese are using the same subversion tactics in Brazil as they’ve used in other third world countries. Acquisition of businesses in strategical industries, political lobbying, partnership and advertising in Brazilian media, and alliances with Brazilian politicians to establish long-term projects aligned with the CCP’s strategies. While the third world can’t access funds from the West, China doesn’t waste time to sell itself as a problem-solver bringing development and opportunities at a future cost of a debt trap.

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