Sunday, February 12, 2012

President BO's "not much of a policy" toward Latin America

Candidate BO spent much of 2007-08 criticizing Pres Bush.  From GITMO to Latin America, he had a lot to say about everything.

For example, he said this about Pres Bush and Latin America in a May 2008 speech:

"So we face a clear choice in this election. We can continue as a bystander, or we can lead the hemisphere into the 21st century. And when I am President of the United States, we will choose to lead."

How is that "choosing to lead" going?

Let's read this from Jaime Daremblum, diplomat and analyst of US-Latin America relations:

".....George W. Bush signed free-trade pacts with Chile, Central America, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Colombia, and Panama; created the anti-drug Mérida Initiative; and boosted development aid to Latin America through the innovative Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Unlike Bush — and Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan — Obama has not spearheaded a major regional initiative of his own. He eventually got Congress to approve the Colombia and Panama trade accords (though only after Republicans captured the House of Representatives), and he has turned a portion of the Mérida Initiative into the Central America Regional Security Initiative. 
But in each of those cases, Obama was either completing or expanding on a policy that originated under his predecessor."

Why does Latin America matter?

First, they live in our neighborhood.  They are our neighbors.

Second, China is expanding its economic influence.  They are doing business with Brazil and Chile, a couple of the most dynamic economies in the world.

Third, Iran is also expanding in the region.  They are looking for trouble in our neighborhood. 

Fourth, Latin America is a natural destination for our exports.

Fifth, we have great allies, and leaders, in Colombia, Chile and Mexico.  

Sixth, the small countries of Central America are under siege from the drug cartels.

We are not asking the Obama administration to meddle in Latin America.  We are simply calling for a little more attention because the region matters a great deal to our national security and economy.

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