Interview: José Alberto Niño

Europa Terra Nostra Vice-Chairman Sascha Rossmüller recently sat down with freelance journalist and Latin American correspondent of The Political Cesspool José Alberto Niño for what proved to be a highly interesting interview. José Niño is a freelance writer and political activist, and his personal interests include history, economics and politics. On LinkedIn, he unabashedly claims to be an “employee of an arms lobby”. He is also a writer for various free-market oriented media. He puts his writing skills to work for various organisations, such as the American Institute for Economic Research, the Cayman Financial Review and the Mises Institute. He also appears on high-profile podcasts such as The Tom Woods Show, and his general thoughts revolve around the philosophy of freedom, which he had discovered for himself following Ron Paul’s presidential campaign during the 2008 US Presidential Election. His favourite authors are Pat Buchanan, Larry Reed, Tom Woods and Walter Williams. José Niño is also the author of the books The 10 Myths of Gun Control: Debunking the Fake News Media´s Lies About Guns and How Socialism Destroyed Venezuela and Why the US Should Stay Out.

ETN: Jose, you are an internationally engaged freelance journalist and expert on the South American continent. For example, you are the Brazilian correspondent for the political channel The Political Cesspool on Radio Liberty in the United States. Can you briefly explain for our readers your background, biography and main field of activity?

José Alberto Niño: My background is quite nuanced. I was born in Venezuela, but spent most of my life in the United States, primarily in Texas. Due to the nature of my work, which has largely been international relations and political-focused, I’ve always had a major interest in political activity – be it international or domestic. My main areas of concentration these days are in geopolitics – especially in the Eurasian space – and American domestic policies that span issues such as immigration all the way to gun politics.

ETN: In the past, South American countries have had tensions or disputes with Washington. Furthermore, the Latin American continent has repeatedly been referred to – sometimes somewhat disparagingly – as the “backyard of the USA”. To what degree has rhetoric such as this contributed to the fact that various countries within the South American continent have increasingly sought to orient themselves – regarding their economic and geopolitical alliances – towards alternatives to the USA?

José Alberto Niño: As the main hegemon in the region, the United States has generally had a strong degree of influence in Latin America, for better or for worse. US influence has brought about a strong degree of regional peace and increased prosperity when the US has NOT interfered in the internal affairs of Latin American countries, by launching coups and other acts of geopolitical subversion. Heightened trade between the US and Latin America has generally been beneficial for the Western Hemisphere. However, the increased use of “color revolutions,” sanctions and other forms of external interference have tarnished the US’ image in the region, and have alternative players like China and Russia look like more attractive strategic partners. At the very least, Latin American countries are beginning to hedge their bets geopolitically and exercise all of their options, as far as alliances are concerned.

ETN: In the past 10 or 20 years, Brazil has clearly gained international weight, not least in connection with the BRICS alliance. Is there continuity in that respect following the recent change of power in the Presidency, or is a change of direction to be expected?

José Alberto Niño: Brazil will continue to engage with BRICS and chart its own path. The country has been relatively independent in its foreign policy and is willing to engage with everyone in some shape or form. As multipolarity becomes the norm on the world stage, one can expect Brazil to maintain its position of courting all sorts of new partners on the world stage.

ETN: Argentina also intends to join the BRICS countries. How would you generally describe the network of relations between the South American states and the interests at stake?

José Alberto Niño: Latin American states are not as interconnected as people think. Owing to the region’s rough geography and poor infrastructure, regional integration has always been a problem. That said, there has been a shared ideological hostility towards growing US encroachment in the region that has been gradually bringing countries together. Argentina is another country that historically has exercised a relatively independent foreign policy when it comes to the US. Should the US grow more unstable domestically and/or pursue more heavy-handed measures in Latin America, Argentina will be another country that could possibly end up under the BRICS fold.

ETN: Apart from the economic connections that some Latin American countries have with Russia, the intensification of relations with China can indeed be considered another thorn in the side of the USA. What are the advantages or dangers of Chinese involvement in Latin America?

José Alberto Niño: With regards to China, Latin America gets a massive trading partner that is hungry for raw materials and commodities. China is rapidly industrialising and it covets a lot of inputs to keep its robust economy running on all cylinders. However, there are questions about the nature of Chinese businesses, which are known to be not so friendly towards the environment and are notorious for using questionable tactics that often don’t jive with the interests of their business partners.

ETN: The European media hardly provides any substantial information on Latin America, but rather they predominantly talk about the Latin American migration flows into the USA. What dimensions does this mass emigration have and what does that mean for the South American countries, specifically with regards to demography, labour force, brain drain, etc.?

José Alberto Niño: Latin American immigration to the United States tends to come from Mexico and Central America, with the latter inflow becoming much more prominent and the former gradually declining. South America doesn’t experience as much emigration, with the sole exception of Venezuela, which has experienced a notable economic collapse over the last few decades. There are home-brewed factors in Latin America – institutional corruption, economic instability and rampant crime – that push immigrants to move to the US. However, there’s an elite class in the US that’s obsessed with demographically replacing the historic American nation with foreigners, who wants this migration influx to continue. Moreover, oligarchical interests that desire cheap labor want mass migration from Latin America and other regions to be kept intact for the sake of raking in big profits. As long as globalist interests control the US and Latin America remains perennially unstable, there will be a significant number of migrants flooding into the US.

ETN: As a European observer, one gets the impression that, in many respects, the political left in South America is not to be compared with the European left. This applies, for example, to some conservative attitudes towards religious beliefs. Some aspects seem to show a mindset that could be described as left-wing nationalist. Is this true? Could you please explain this to our readers in more detail?

José Alberto Niño: The Latin American left tends to be more class reductionist compared to its counterparts in the US, Canada and Europe. In other words, Latin American leftists focus more on economic questions and tend to ignore social questions, such as lifestyle habits. In fact, some Latin American leftist movements hold traditionally conservative views on abortion and sexual lifestyles. However, this is slowly changing in Latin America, as the mass dissemination of Western media is beginning to change public views on a host of questions, ranging from homosexuality to traditional gender roles in Latin America.

ETN: Lastly, something a bit more in-depth about US influence in South America. In the near future, are further regime change operations to be expected from Washington, as we have witnessed in Bolivia and Venezuela in the past?

José Alberto Niño: I expect more subversion attempts if countries in Latin America draw closer to China and/or Russia. These will be some of the more interesting geopolitical developments to watch in Latin America as the US and China joust for geopolitical influence across the globe.

Sascha Rossmuller

ETN Vice-Chairman (Germany)

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