As US President Donald Trump’s team
plan on how to oust Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro, China’s growing
foothold in the country alarms Pentagon.
In an interview with U.S. Navy
Admiral Craig Faller, Commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), he brought
up China’s disinformation campaign to pin the blame on the US government for
the devastating power crisis in the country.
Maduro backed this campaign and
openly accused the US Defense Department of sabotage that led to
“China came out publicly, a
state spokesman, implying the blackouts were attributable to US
cyberattacks,” Faller said during a recent trip to Washington, DC.
“That is just such a blatant
lie. The blackouts are attributed to Maduro’s inept leadership, corruption,
inattention to his people, and lack of concern for any humanity.”
China’s increasing global presence
concerns Pentagon as well.
In the Pacific, China continues to
fortify its military capability in order to intimidate its smaller neighbors
and threaten Taiwan.
In Africa, Beijing offers debt
diplomacy in order to gain control of crucial ports and other infrastructure.
And Europe is facing potential Chinese cyber threats and commercial threats.
“I think the biggest threat to
democracy and the way of life around the world is the trend that we see in
China,” Faller said.
Faller pointed out that China has
already creeped in Venezuela’s economic structure by investing in
infrastructure and approving loans that are difficult to settle. Bulk of these
loans are tied to oil production.
Another point of concern according to
Faller is that China has started to expand its information technology footprint
in the country.
The Chinese telecommunications giant
ZTE is creating a new ID card that can be used to monitor citizens’ behavior.
When asked about US plans for
military intervention, Faller did not get into details. He said the military is
“looking at a range” of options and “will be ready” for
whatever decision the president makes.
“We are on the balls
of our feet,” Faller added.