The leaders of China, Russia and Japan all descended on Latin America in recent weeks, jostling with the United States to increase their influence, invest and tap into resource-rich markets.
The latest arrival was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who on Monday was in Trinidad and Tobago, the second stop on a five-country tour that began on Friday in Mexico.
Abe’s visit began just as Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his tour, which included stops in Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba. Xi signed more than 100 trade agreements on the trip.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was in the region for a week from July 11, stopping in Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua and Cuba.
The United States remains Latin America’s top trade partner, but gone are the days when Washington could take the region for granted as its backyard.