Ukraine wants to be heard in Latin America

As part of the press tour for journalists from Latin American countries, the panel discussion “Latin America in the Focus of Russian Propaganda” was held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

The Ukrainian side was represented by Volodymyr Solovyan, Head of the Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group of Ukraine Crisis Media Center, Oleksiy Otkydach, an expert on Latin America at the ADASTRA Fellows, and Ivan Fechko, an expert of the Latin American and Caribbean Research Program of the Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism.”

The guests were represented by Ricardo Marcelo Cantelmi (Argentina), María Jimena Duzán Saenz (Colombia), Natalia Viana Rodriguez (Brazil), Hulishch Guillermo Idiart (Argentina), Juan Camilo Merlano Poveda (Colombia). 

The event participants discussed the geopolitical significance of the Russian-Ukrainian war and its impact on the political situation in Latin America, the tools of the Russian Federation’s information manipulation in the region, and the potential for mutual cooperation. 

In his speech, Volodymyr Solovyan touched on several aspects, one of which concerns the military-technical area. The Latin American countries received weapons from the Soviet Union many years ago, and Ukraine is now in dire need of such weapons. Russia, for its part, is trying to use any means to prevent these shells from being supplied to Ukraine.

It is also important for Moscow to build a platform for the intervention of its state-owned companies in Latin America. One of them is the Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation, which is still not under international sanctions. 

“They give scholarships to scientists and students, conclude agreements on cooperation for the sake of a peaceful atom, offer technologies and experience exchange, trying in any way to create this interdependence with other countries to promote information activities. This allows disinformation campaigns to be conducted in specific countries in order to oppose their support for Ukraine,” the expert noted.

Ivan Fechko added that, from time to time, Russia resorts to destabilizing the situation in these countries. Last year, we saw how referendums were held in Venezuela and Guyana, and how the Russians interfered in these processes. 

“The same was once the case in Ukraine. This undermines the foundations of international law. If putin is not punished and is allowed to support the Maduro regime in this way, he will continue to destabilize the situation in Latin America,” said the representative of the Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism.”

Oleksiy Otkydach noted that it is important not to overestimate the scale of the Russian Federation’s influence in Latin America. In his opinion, national leaders always have opportunities to use this topic in the interests of their countries rather than in the Kremlin’s interests. They can prove this by their participation in the International Peace Summit that will be held in Switzerland in June.

“I expect that the countries of Latin America will be involved in this summit. 85 countries have already declared intentions to join, and we hope that the largest countries in the region will participate in it,” he added.

After exchanging opinions, the panel discussion participants expressed interest in deepening the dialogue between Ukraine and Latin American countries, which can study the Ukrainian experience of countering Russian propaganda in both the state and non-governmental sectors. In turn, Ukraine is interested in seeing that Latin American media convey information to their audience without Russian narratives.

The press tor was held as part of the “Unfold Ukraine to Global South” project, implemented by Ukraine Crisis Media Center in cooperation and coordination with the Open Society Foundation and funded by the International Renaissance Foundation.