Tillerson Urges Mexico To Watch For Russian Meddling In Elections

Oscar Cross
February 4, 2018

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a renewed call for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's regime to face global isolation, a theme he plans to pursue at each stop in a six-nation tour of Latin America.

He said Latin America does not need new imperial powers that seek only to benefit their own people.

Before embarking Thursday on a five-nation trip to Latin America, Tillerson said China seeks only to enrich itself with investment and development projects.

One of Tillerson's first trips as secretary was to Mexico a year ago, but this will be the first time he travels further south in the role.

The statement also rejected claims that China is undermining USA interest in the region. Because the USA economy is very intertwined with Latin America, changes in the area can affect the U.S and consumers, according to Will Inboden, a UT professor and the Clement Center for National Security executive director.

Asked about this at a news conference with Mexico's Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, Tillerson said: "All I can say to you is that we know that Russian Federation has fingerprints in a number of countries around the world".

According to analysts, China's attractiveness to the region as a loan provider is that it does not demand any economic or social policy changes, nor does it impose structural adjustment programs as was the norm with loans granted by the International Monetary Fund, which many claimed undermined the country's sovereignty.

On Thursday in Texas, Tillerson said the administration was not advocating for a "regime change" in Venezuela.

Tillerson spoke in front of an audience of about 300 people at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas.

In January, the U.S. Treasury Department added four current or former Venezuelan senior military officials to its sanctions list, accusing them of corruption and repression that have contributed to critical shortages of food and medicine and the erosion of human rights.

Tillerson will visit Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, and Jamaica, where discussions will reportedly focus around the worsening humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, defending the administration's policy of rolling back Barack Obama's 'Cuban Thaw, ' and urging them to curtail their dependence on China.

Tillerson will participate today in this capital in the meeting of the North American foreign ministers along with Videgaray and Canada Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland.

"We didn't talk about the wall", Mr. Videgaray said curtly on Friday. They're about issues like how many components in a vehicle have to be American.

On Friday he is to meet President Enrique Pena Nieto before heading on to his next engagement at the Andean resort of Bariloche, Argentina, and then to Buenos Aires on Monday.

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