For largely geopolitical reasons, Moscow is expanding its presence in Latin America at Washington’s expense despite Russia’s lack of geographic proximity and limited resources.
The Kremlin is taking advantage of the deteriorating relationships between the United States and many of its southern neighbors. Russia supports anti-American populist candidates in elections throughout Latin America and is trying to expand trade and investment opportunities with the region.
The Kremlin likely calculates that closer relations with Latin America—whether built on arms sales, trade, energy deals, or political congruity—will complicate U.S. foreign policy. If these overtures help Russian military and security actors gain access to the United States’ backyard, so much the better.