The aim of the trilateral military exercises is to show military muscle to the United States and its allies, who fear the consequences of the activity of these three powers on the American continent

Iran, China and Russia prepare for military manoeuvres in Latin America

AFP PHOTO / HO / IRANIAN ARMY OFFICE - An image distributed by the official website of the Iranian military on 21 January 2022 shows Iranian, Russian and Chinese warships

Iran, Russia and China, along with ten other nations, are preparing to carry out military manoeuvres in Latin America next August, in a show of force before the United States and its allies. According to the US portal Washington Free Beacon, Venezuela and Nicaragua will be two of the scenarios for these trilateral military manoeuvres, known as "Sniper Frontier".

Both Latin American countries are key to the establishment of Russian and Chinese influence on the continent for two reasons: their proximity to the United States and their willingness to collaborate with these countries. In this regard, the newspaper pointed to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's latest diplomatic tour of West Asia last month, where he signed an agreement with Iran establishing a strategic agreement, with the same similarities as the Islamic Republic had already done with Russia and China.

A similar situation exists in Nicaragua, whose president, Daniel Ortega, renewed a military pact with Russia last June that authorises the Russian armed forces to establish themselves on the country's borders and carry out joint military exercises.

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For its part, China is not lagging behind in forging its influence in the Americas. Its Foreign Minister Wang Yi signed several economic agreements in Latin America, notably making several calls to Uruguay, Nicaragua and Ecuador. In addition, Argentina also formalised its incorporation into China's New Silk Road initiative.

However, this growing expansion of China and Russia on the continent keeps the US in the spotlight. The head of the US Southern Command, Laura Richardson, told Voice of America that this influence would have the worrying consequences of instability, insecurity and weak democratic institutions. "We need to work with the militaries and defence forces of our partners and allies, making them stronger and helping them overcome these cross-cutting challenges and threats," she added.

Richardson also warned of China's dangerous influence in the region, since under the pretext of investing in the region, what they are really doing is encouraging the relocation of Chinese workers without local recruitment. Not to mention, as the head of the Southern Command pointed out, the loans they offer to already weakened Latin American economies that are then impossible to repay.

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In any case, these would not be the first manoeuvres carried out by Iran, China and Russia in the region. The alliance already began in 2019 with joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean, under the name "Marine Security Belt", by which they tried to reinforce their surveillance and security in the region.

The operation was repeated earlier this year in the same place and under the same name, "Marine Security Belt 2022". Eleven Iranian navy ships, three Russian ships and two Chinese ships were involved in the military operations.

The objective, from the beginning to these upcoming military manoeuvres, is the same: to flex military muscle in the face of the United States and its allies, especially in the context of the international isolation to which Moscow is subjected for its invasion of Ukraine. Latin America remains a priority for the Kremlin, even with the vast majority of its armed forces in Ukraine

Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.