Vaccine Diplomacy: Latin America Turns to Russia and China to Save Them from Crushing Second Wave

By Simeon Tegel

“These vaccines come with a potent message... that the ability of the United States to deliver results is now in question," said AS/COA's Eric Farnsworth to The Telegraph.

In the Brazilian jungle city of Manaus, thought to have achieved “herd immunity” during the first, crushing Covid-19 surge last year, exhausted gravediggers are once again burying the thousands of dead vertically, one on top of the other…

Across Latin America, from some of the world’s largest cities to remote indigenous communities, the pandemic’s second wave is shooting out of control. And while the United States, United Kingdom and European Union are prioritizing vaccinating their own populations, desperate governments of all political stripes here are turning to Russian and Chinese manufacturers, creating a visceral opportunity for Moscow and Beijing to spread their influence in the region through “vaccine diplomacy”…

Eric Farnsworth, a former career U.S. diplomat now with the Council of the Americas, a Washington DC-based think tank, believes the West’s failure to ensure an equitable supply of vaccines to poor countries has gifted a geopolitical opening to Russia and China.

“These vaccines come with a potent message that China has been pushing in the region, and to a lesser extent Russia, that the ability of the United States to deliver results is now in question,” said Farnsworth. “What is to say that the U.S. system, and democracy generally, is the best model for emerging markets?”…

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