NGA Tearline: China's Belt and Road Initiative in Latin America

In Collaboration with the College of William & Mary

What is NGA Tearline?

NGA is partnering with expert private groups to grow public-facing, authoritative open source intelligence on various strategic and humanitarian intelligence topics that tend to be under-reported within long-form format.

This authoritative open source content will be cited for internal purposes and it will grow public trust by increasing transparency around shared public-private interest in various strategic and humanitarian intelligence topics that are fit for public consumption.

Learn more about NGA Tearline.

The following reports were created in collaboration with Matthew Crittenden, Caroline Morin, William Greyson Pettus, Kate Munkacsy, Emily Maison, Remington Fritz, William Weston, Monica Alicea and Maya Deutchman, undergraduates at the College of William & Mary's Geospatial Evaluation and Observation Lab.

Case Study - Sustainable Energy in Cuba

In contrast to high carbon-emitting Belt and Road Initiative energy projects in other countries, China has supported renewable and sustainable projects in Cuba. What sets the "Green BRI" in Cuba apart from the rest of the region? BRI energy projects have focused on renewables in Cuba due to the country’s legislation, directives, and availability of natural resources.

China’s role has been in providing capital and technology as China often is willing to take risks despite economic uncertainty created by the ongoing U.S. economic embargo. We assess the focus on sustainable development in Cuba is a reflection of Cuba's domestic circumstances, not necessarily the implementation of China's Green BRI.

Cast Study - Ports

China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is not a monolithic enterprise. Across seven BRI port projects in Central America and the Caribbean, we find evidence that the project partnerships between China and recipient countries vary significantly regarding construction processes and end results.

BRI investment depends on numerous factors, including coordination between the Chinese government and the recipient country's government. When this coordination is undermined by domestic political changes, civil society movements, or international pressure, BRI projects may be cancelled or indefinitely delayed.