Latin America is losing another champion in the Senate, Chris Dodd (D-CT), who has announced that he will not seek re-election in November. The five-term Senator was facing a tough fight and soft poll numbers, and the announcement was not really unexpected by political observers. Nonetheless, coupled with the recent passing of Senator Ted Kennedy, the Western Hemisphere is losing another strong voice for the region. Senator Dodd is the Chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee, and both formally and informally he has played an important role regarding U.S. policy in the region.
It’s true that over the past couple years a presidential run and then the financial crisis diverted the Senator’s attention somewhat away from the region. Then again, the presidential elections and the financial crisis diverted everyone’s attention away from other priorities. But at a time when Western Hemisphere issues are not prominent in the Washington policy-scape, Senator Dodd’s retirement will leave a void, and it will be noted ruefully by many across the hemisphere.
*Eric Farnsworth is a contributing blogger to americasquarterly.org. He is Vice President of the Council of the Americas in Washington DC.