Cyber Diplomacy in Latin America

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Latin America is an important region for the EU to build a secure and rights-based global cyberspace. Despite tumultuous political transitions in the past few decades, Latin America has been a staunch defender of liberal values and inclusivity, both in the digital sphere and in the physical realm. Latin states became the first in the world to coordinate their efforts on cybersecurity in 2004 with a cybersecurity strategy. Under the Organisation of American States (OAS), numerous cybersecurity initiatives were created for the region. This digital dialogue provides an overview of the regional cooperation and Latin American efforts to increase resilience, create confidence building measures, fight cybercrime, boost the digital economy, and protect human rights online. It dissects the Latin American position in the world on cyber diplomacy and how it positions itself towards the US, China, and the EU to create stability in cyberspace. Specific attention goes to the strategic partnership between the EU and Latin America and how this relationship can be leveraged to increase cooperation to foster global stability in cyberspace.

Key takeaways

  • Despite changing alliances and clashing ideologies in Latin America, there are effective regional cooperation mechanisms that strengthen the region against digital threats. The OAS’ cybersecurity programme and Confidence-Building Working Group contribute greatly to this effective cooperation.
  • While Internet freedom seems to be declining in the region, Latin countries have expressed a commitment to liberal values in international fora. There is great potential in the region for developing Internet governance models that involve multiple actors with active civil societies and emerging digital economies.
  • Many Latin states have expressed views similar to the European Union, e.g. that the Internet needs to remain free and open and that a secure cyberspace needs to be rules-and rights-based. They have expressed the need for a clear dialogue on the application of international law in cyberspace and several Latin states have pleaded for the United Nations to play a greater role in implementing cybersecurity norms.

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