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Hearts & Minds, Votes & Contracts: China's State Media in Latin America

Books@Wilson logoHearts & Minds, Votes & Contracts Book Cover


Wilson Center, 2024


Books@Wilson logoHearts & Minds, Votes & Contracts Book Cover


Readers of Hearts & Minds will discover that China has been patient in Latin America, that it varies its methods to suit local conditions, that it adapts, and that its efforts to shape media are coordinated with its diplomacy and investments. Some Chinese influence efforts have been ham-handed, but most have been determined and well-resourced. Spanish-language training programs are thriving in China after a long dry spell and the numbers of expatriate Chinese in the region is rising.

Not all of China’s attention to Latin America is nefarious. Much of it is organic and some Chinese investment lending has benefitted local populations. Even projects that do not succeed fully may win friends for China in the absence of American options. China’s open or surreptitious efforts to shape Latin America opinion through media, however, are unambiguous: their aim is to build support for the Chinese Communist Party’s values, policies, and power.

As in Africa, this is a story not only of Chinese action but of American inaction and neglect. Hearts & Minds eschews polemics and tells these stories through well-researched case studies, interviews, and data. The Wilson Center and its Kissinger Institute on China and the United States are proud to have supported Igor Patrick’s work and hope that it will bring overdue attention to these issues. We thank Mr. Patrick for educating us and look forward to watching his book deepen discussion of China-Latin American relations and their importance to the United States.

About the Author

Igor Patrick

Igor Patrick

Former Schwarzman Scholar
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Kissinger Institute on China and the United States

The Kissinger Institute works to ensure that China policy serves American long-term interests and is founded in understanding of historical and cultural factors in bilateral relations and in accurate assessment of the aspirations of China’s government and people.  Read more