President Trump said he would restore the Monroe Doctrine, but the State Department hasn’t received the message.
Communist China is laying a new anchor in the hemisphere: El Salvador.
This week, Beijing officially began treating El Salvador as a virtual extension of its colonial eurasian Belt-and-Road Initiative.
In an important University of Louisville speech earlier this week on hemispheric diplomacy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo singled out Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, one of the world’s only millennial heads of state, calling him an “amazing new leader.”
At that very moment, Bukele was jetting to Beijing as the world’s only democratically elected leader to make a state visit to the Chinese capital during the Hong Kong repression.
While Pompeo dropped a platitude and got the country wrong, saying Bukele was from Ecuador, China pulled out all the stops as the Salvadoran leader flew toward its open arms.
Lots of Chinese goodies El Salvador – and all for free
Beijing gave El Salvador’s previous left-wing FMLN government some shiploads of rice and some reported under-the-table payola. In exchange, El Salvador dumped its 85-year diplomatic relationship with the Republic of China on Taiwan, and recognized Beijing.
Bukele took office last February, openly considering reestablishing relations with Taiwan, at Beijing’s expense. So the Communist Chinese began working on Bukele, sparing no effort.
Bukele tweeted out all the goodies El Salvador would receive under its new relationship with China:
- “A new National Stadium, modern, big capacity.”
- “Construction of a new National Library, of crystal, several stories high.”
- “A great water purification plant.”
- “The whole system for distribution of potable water and sewage treatment around the beaches of Surf City. A first-world system for a first-world tourism destination.”
- “The entire circuit of pedestrian streets, sidewalks, parks, boardwalks, underground electrical wiring, along Surf City beaches.”
- The “total” recovery and restoration of the precolumbian Joya de Ceren archaeological site.
- “Nine additional cooperation agreements in agriculture, tourism, culture, sports, commerce and technical assistance.”
- “The restoration and extension of the pier of Puerto La Libertad, to make it an international tourist attraction, with restaurants, cafes, shops and mechanical games.”
That’s just about it. All gifts from China, and all for free, Bukele said.
Other Salvadorans warned that Beijing was luring their country into a debt trap. Bukele scoffed at the idea. “It’s not a loan, but a donation,” he said.
Bukele, who had been kicked out of the FMLN, took office last February and actively considered restoring El Salvador’s relationship with Taiwan. But Beijing offered more goodies.
The Trump Administration seemed not to pay attention.
So as Bukele jetted to China to seal the deal, Secretary of State Pompeo praised him as “amazing.”
How Beijing buttered Bukele
The Chinese Communist Party showed its careful psychological profiling of foreign leaders to butter them up properly.
It awarded Bukele an honorary doctoral degree. Bukele wasted no time changing his Twitter name to “Dr. Nayib Bukele.”
Communist officials gave Bukele, a major state-level reception with Party leader Xi Jinping, complete with military honor guard. They brought the Salvadoran president, his wife, and infant a private tour of the Forbidden City and a Chinese National Ballet performance sponsored by the Ministry of Culture.
“Each Chinese leader who met President Bukele has reiterated his support for the work that is being done to guarantee the well-being of Salvadorans,” the Salvadoran presidential office said, “and they have provided support to implement the agreements made between him and President Xi Jinping.”
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