The Inter-American Dialogue’s China program is pleased to provide monthly reports on China’s media coverage of Latin America. Though still relatively limited, Chinese media reporting on Latin America has expanded in recent years. In February 2014, coverage focused principally on protests in Venezuela and Mexico’s struggle against drug cartels. Media reports also featured economic developments in Argentina and electoral races in Central America.
Chinese media coverage of Latin America in February focused primarily on opposition protests in Venezuela. The tone of media reports varied widely, however. Official, pro-government sources were generally sympathetic toward the Maduro administration, admonishing the opposition for refusing to engage in ‘peace talks’ (委内瑞拉进入七天长假 两派继续上街集会游行). They also made no mention of key events precipitating the protests, such as the arrest of opposition leader Leopoldo López. Other Chinese media criticized the deterioration of economic conditions and democratic institutions in the country (查韦斯的枪不好接).
Reporters also took note of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s arrest in Mexico. Chinese papers offered unusually varied coverage, with Xinhua devoting a full article to the question of Guzman’s extradition to the United States (墨西哥落网大毒枭寻法律途径 防被引渡美国受审), while China’s strongly pro-government Global Times (环球时报) published a piece on protests of the arrest, as well as allegations of corruption by Guzman supporters (墨西哥民间人士为大毒枭求情 称其好过贪官).
Argentina dominated economic news in February. The sharp devaluation of the Argentine peso early in the month caused some concern in China. Another article (阿根廷比索暴贬中国须未雨绸缪) was particularly critical of US monetary policy, noting potential implications for Chinese markets. Global Times reported a new deal between Argentina’s government and Spanish company Repsol over the expropriation of YPF (委内瑞拉”不是乌克兰” 总统拥有稳定根基).
News on Central America’s elections rounded out Chinese reporting on Latin America this month. Chinese media recognized the completion of fair and peaceful first-round elections in El Salvador (尼加拉瓜新宪法生效 允许总统连选连任). It was also noted that Nicaragua’s new constitution will allow Daniel Ortega to pursue a third consecutive presidential term in 2016 (萨尔瓦多总统选举在平静中结束).