On February 24, 2022, Russia launched an offensive against Ukraine, which celebrates its first anniversary today. On the international scene, many countries have come out clearly in favor of Ukraine, but this is not the case for the main Latin American countries. On this subject, RFI spoke to former diplomat Jorge Heine, professor of International Relations at Boston University and former Chilean ambassador to Beijing.
Although they condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the majority voted on February 23 in favor of the UN General Assembly resolution, the main Latin American countries have chosen to keep a prudent distance from the conflict.
“Some of the main countries in the region, such as Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, have expressed, particularly their president, positions very close to neutrality in the face of the war itself, condemning the invasion, but expressing that they are not about to take sides in the conflict that It is happening right now,” Jorge Heine, professor of International Relations at Boston University and former Chilean ambassador to Beijing, told RFI.
According to the specialist, “a very significant piece of information, because it is something very concrete, is that there was a unanimous rejection of the request made by the United States and by the German chancellor on his recent tour of South America, to hand over weapons to Ukraine, to which there was a unanimous rejection of Colombia, Brazil, Argentina… The Latin American countries, if one had to take stock, although they condemn the invasion of Ukraine, they are not about to get involved in the war”.
In the front row of this position, the recently elected Brazilian president, Lula da Silva: “President Lula was in Washington, he agreed with President Biden on numerous things, including the Amazon issue, the need to combat climate change, the need to defend the democratic institutions that have been threatened both in the United States and in Brazil… But there was a point on which they did not agree, it was on the war in Ukraine. While the United States wants Brazil to commit to supporting Ukraine, including with weapons, President Lula is not into it. He is for mediation, he is for trying to contribute to peace and not throw more gasoline on the fire ”, details Jorge Heine.
A shared position far beyond the continent, comments the former Chilean ambassador: “The Indian government has also had a very close position and has not wanted to take sides with either of the two parties, and is also in favor of seeking a solution.”
“Indeed, countries like South Africa, Indonesia, Pakistan, some of the largest democracies in the world, have been in that position. I estimate that between 81% and 85% of the world’s population lives in countries that have declared their neutrality to their non-alignment in the conflict”, concludes Heine.