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 blackouts.
“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.