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Equalizing revenge

Ángel Marroquín

During the pre-internet world, Latin American soap operas (telenovela) were one of the preferred ways to communicate complex issues in a simple way: social inequality, the injustices that suffer the poor, and the indolence and stupidity of the rich, among many others. Among the archetypal dramas that staged these conflicts, the most powerful one was the “equalizing revenge” whose essence we could briefly describe as follows:

A poor rural girl falls in love with a rich white young man who owns a large company and spends her time “meeting business people”. He falls in love with her, cheats, abuses and abandons her (in that order). The poor girl returns to her village, humiliated and usually pregnant, and, after going through several adventures, she discovers that she is the heir to a fortune (showing that her own mother had gone through a similar peril). She begins to anonymously buy shares in the family business of the rich young man until she owns 50 plus 1 of the company.

One day, the rich young man and his family, elegantly dressed, wait to welcome the new majority partners and, in an elegant meeting room, they realise that the new and powerful owner of the family business is nothing less than the poor girl whom he had fallen in love with, cheated, abused and abandoned. (!)

I propose to look at this story as a metaphor for what is happening between China and the West. Don’t you think that for many years China was considered a gigantic country, backward and rural. However, little by little, and without arousing suspicion, the communist conversion to the market economy began to bear fruit when at the end of the nineties the portfolio of Chinese investment companies opened to the world. Between 2000 and 2014, China allocated more than 273.6 billion dollars (about 245 billion euros) to finance about 3,485 projects in 138 countries around the world.

China is today the source of financing for large infrastructure projects (energy, transport, agriculture, etc.) in Africa, Latin America and Central Europe. Most of this financing falls into the category of financing for development and has focused on poor countries. These investments were produced under the gaze of a self-absorbed European community, trying to maintain its unity and facing growing problems with the thousands of refugees generated by the conflict in Syria. For its part, the US disappeared from the international arena thanks to Trump. Today the European community and the US wait in the meeting room for China, the new empress and new owner of what is left of the world, to arrive.

Who dares to question the allegations of human rights violations in China against the Muslim population? Who will speak for Tibet? Who will analyse the situation in North Korea? Whoever puts the money chooses the music and Europe and the emerging economies know it. China is here to stay, and together with Russia, they form a new political axis upon which peace will depend for decades to come.





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