At Global Americans we ran into a little problem last week. The cartoon distributor we use for our cartoon section, Cagle Cartoons, Inc. wasn’t working. Luckily, the site went back online in time for last week’s newsletter, but then the website crashed again.
It wasn’t until Tuesday that the Cagle Cartoon team informed its users that the organization had suffered an “unusually effective series of attacks from Chinese hackers against [Cagle’s] database which brought the website down.” And while Cagle Cartoon’s statement didn’t go into full detail on why the website was targeted, it highlights how Chinese hackers and the Chinese government work to gain influence in the Western Hemisphere. And hacking U.S. companies isn’t the only way the PRC is furthering its geopolitical objectives.
Through its Belt and Road Initiative, China looks to invest in infrastructure projects across Latin America. China is also investing in Latin America’s mobile commerce, powering the region’s tech boom. Other Chinese ventures in the region include promoting Chinese interests in Latin America through its state-owned media, establishing diplomatic relations with countries in the region, pulling them away from Taiwan, and lending the embattled Maduro regime billions of dollars to keep his government afloat. Perhaps most worrying? Beijing’s decision to help the Maduro government build a system to monitor citizen behavior through an identification card that has already been used to track voting during last year’s fraudulent elections.