U.S. Policy in Latin America: Naïve or Disingenuous?

December 2, 2009

by Christopher Sabatini

This is not another posting about Honduras.  We’ve had enough of those and the back and forth. This is broader: about the general sense of drift of this administration’s policy in the region.  (Warning: this is a précis of a future article.) 

Is partnership really possible today in the Americas? For all the rhetoric and desire for collective action, the hemisphere is too divided, U.S. politics too polarized, and a number of Latin American countries too willing to shirk responsibility for that to happen.

President Barack Obama’s administration walked into office and the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago talking about partnership in the hemisphere—a welcome refrain from recent years.  But if current events are any indication, the region doesn’t want partners it wants a punching bag.  Partnership assumes a level of shared values, responsibility and future.  The last eight months demonstrate everything but. 

First, the sad debate at the Summit of the Americas in April.  President Obama came armed with public adulation, a global honeymoon and a promise of partnership.  All the presidents of the hemisphere united; the first regional meeting with the newly elected President Obama, and what do the Latin American countries put on the agenda? Cuba. 

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Tags: Obama’s Latin America policy, U.S.-Latin America policy, Honduran elections, Brazil-Honduras