Russia is certainly back in Latin America, the United States’ backyard. In this rapidly growing multipolar world, Russia is confidently stamping its foot, intensifying its serious and coordinated efforts, this time in Latin America. And the State Duma, the lower house of Russian lawmakers, is at the forefront of counterbalancing the dominance of unipolarism and American hegemony, “authoritarianism and exceptionalism” and, above all, , to strengthen its post-Soviet presence, especially due to rapidly changing global politics. situation.
From September 29 to October 2, at the initiative of the State Duma, the first International Parliamentary Conference “Russia – Latin America” was held in Moscow. More than 200 participants, including parliamentarians from different Latin American and Caribbean countries, took part. In March 2023, for example, Russia hosted the second “Russia-Africa” interparliamentary conference, followed by a summit in late July. At the end of September, it was Latin America’s turn.
Russia has long recognized the high potential of the region, therefore it is examining its weaknesses and strengths and trying to take more strategic steps to consolidate political agreements with “friendly” Latin American countries. As experts have speculated, he could continue to try to circumvent sanctions, form new alliances and agree on more investments while promoting the expansion of trade in the region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, during the opening session on September 29, noted that the presence of high-ranking legislators from Latin America and the Caribbean reaffirmed the common desire and willingness to develop a beneficial comprehensive partnership with the Russia. “We are convinced that promoting direct dialogue between parliaments will open up opportunities to deepen cooperation and expand it through new areas of joint activity,” he told the assembly of parliamentarians.
Putin, whose speech echoes the historical names of Salvador Allende, Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro as selfless fighters for justice and social equality, ended the opportunity to categorically criticize the military aid of states -United with Ukraine and economic sanctions against Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela and other developing countries around the world. He vehemently advocates for comprehensive reforms of global financial institutions, a faster transition to settlements in national currencies and the creation of financial and banking cooperation channels, as well as new transport and logistics chains – all of which facilitate development subsequent mutual relations. trade.
Referring to BRICS as an organization that provides a forum to coordinate approaches and develop mutually acceptable solutions based on sovereignty, independence and mutual respect, Putin said Russia would support Latin America in joining BRICS. Russia will assume the rotating presidency from January 2024.
Putin believes that in this new polycentric architecture, Latin American countries, endowed with enormous economic potential and human resources and eager to pursue a sovereign and independent foreign policy, will play a leading role in the world. Russia hopes that the countries of the Latin American region will achieve progressive and dynamic developments and further strengthen their position in the world economy and politics. It follows that Russian politicians have always defended Latin America, its unity, its strength and its diversity.
Today, with the changes occurring in the world, Latin American countries are showing a trend in their political approach to many important issues in the process of supporting the formation of a multipolar system. To achieve this goal and achieve their individual national goals, parliaments are expected to play their role. Apparently, the role of parliamentary diplomacy in strengthening cooperation between Russia and Latin American countries is nothing new, because it particularly affects all areas: in the political and security spheres, as well as in socio-economic and humanitarian fields.
In the Latin American region, Russia has little economic footprint and there are enormous opportunities to create new businesses, engage in scientific and cultural exchange, and increase two-way tourism. Currently, a nuclear research and technology center is being built in Bolivia, joint biopharmaceutical companies are expanding their activities in Nicaragua and Venezuela, and a metallurgical plant is being modernized in Cuba.
In his speech, Putin also emphasized that Russian-Latin American projects in the fields of medicine, public health and biological and epidemiological security are being implemented with good results. During the coronavirus pandemic, Russia was among the first to provide Latin America with large deliveries of vaccines, testing systems, sanitary and hygiene products, as well as other medical and humanitarian goods.
Statistics show that almost half a million Russians have fully integrated into the society of the Latin American region, compared to Latinos in the Russian Federation. He explicitly highlights the extent to which Russian society has become closed, notably by speaking out in favor of multipolarism. Simply, inbound and outbound tourism is down, although Russia claims to have a visa-free travel system in place that currently includes 27 Latin American countries.
Round tables were held with themes such as: – Equal and mutually beneficial economic cooperation: role of parliaments; Development of humanitarian ties between Russia and Latin America: contribution of parliaments; A just multipolar world: role of parliamentary diplomacy; and Security for all: position of parliaments.
Regarding strengthening economic cooperation, trade turnover between Russia and Latin American countries has increased by about a quarter and now amounts to almost $20 billion. “We are convinced that a new world order is being built, and Russia is one of the pillars of this order, one of the main pillars that contribute to the development of multilateral approaches and the establishment of mutually beneficial relations”, stressed the Special Representative of Russia. the president of Nicaragua for Russian affairs, Laureano Ortega Murillo.
In his contribution, Félix Martínez Suárez, president of the Economic Affairs Commission of the National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba, spoke about cooperation between Russia and Cuba. In 2023, exchanges and visits between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Cuba at the parliamentary level were significant. “There was a large delegation of parliamentarians with him. The agenda was busy: together with the Cuban side, six relevant working groups were created to address all important issues of strategic bilateral cooperation in the main areas of our economies. These are finance, investment, agriculture, tourism, energy, education and legislation,” he said during the Duma session. ‘State.
Regarding the fight against American interference in internal affairs, it was noted that in March 2023, the President of the Russian Federation approved a foreign policy strategy. And one of the priorities is mutually beneficial cooperation with Latin American countries. Security issues are key issues today, they are important for the whole world.
Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Irina Yarovaya in her speech emphasized the special importance for Russia of cooperation with the countries of the region where the United States of America and its allies are trying to interfere in internal affairs.
“Nicaragua, like many other countries, has been the victim of invasions and theft by Yankee imperialists and their allies. They have impoverished our people by destabilizing, financing terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking and arms trafficking,” said Filiberto Jacinto Rodríguez López, chairman of the Peace, Defense, Business Committee. Internal Affairs and Human Rights of the National Assembly of the Republic of Nicaragua. .
The president of the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba, José Luis Toledo Santander, recalled that “Cuban society has been living for 70 years under a monstrous blockade from the United States and their allies, and they are trying to destroy our country. »
State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin highlighted the contribution of Presidents Vladimir Putin and Nicolas Maduro to the development of relations between Russia and Venezuela. The task of parliaments is to reach an absolutely new level of dialogue, to provide legislative support for the implementation of agreements concluded by heads of state, according to Volodin.
“We have great opportunities to make our own contribution to the development of relations between our states, our nations. Venezuela and Russia are not only linked by bonds of friendship and long-standing relations. We are counterparts and like-minded people, we stand for a multipolar world, building a just world order,” the State Duma Chairman emphasized.
“The world is no longer unipolar. There is no longer a global policeman who tells us what we must do and with whom we must cooperate. Just like you, we defend a multipolar world – a world based on the principles of cooperation, respect and respect for the right to independence and sovereignty,” said Jorge Rodríguez Gómez.
“We are supporters of building a multipolar world, we defend a just world order and believe that each country should have the opportunity to develop and plan its future,” Volodin emphasized during the meeting with the President of the Congress National of the Republic of Honduras Luis Redondo Guifarro. And also with the Brazilian Veneziano Vital do Rêgo Segundo Neto.
Volodin held a special bilateral meeting with the President of the National Assembly of People’s Power and the Council of State of Cuba, Juan Esteban Lazo Hernández. Volodin recalled that the first meeting of the Cooperation Commission between the State Duma and the National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba was held in Havana in April. Among the priority areas of joint projects between Russia and Cuba are the extraction and processing of mineral resources, cane sugar production, tourism and solar energy, as well as humanitarian and educational cooperation.
The emerging polycentric world is the ideal time to strengthen the interparliamentary format of Russia’s relations with Latin American countries, as well as with Asia and Africa. The development of parliamentarism has become one of the platforms for continuing in-depth discussions on a number of issues facing Russia in a changing world. Latin American parliamentarians gathered there for a four-day international forum (September 29 to October 2) at the initiative of the State Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.