Image courtesy of Nasa – Screenshot from NASA’s globe software World Wind using a public domain layer, such as Blue Marble, MODIS, Landsat, SRTM, USGS or GLOBE
As many news programs, news papers, bloggers, and commentators of all sorts have mentioned — Latin America (Immigration Reform and the War on Drugs to) where virtually ignored throughout the entire campaign and mentioned only one time during the Presidential Debates by Mitt Romney.
Yes there are a great many problems around the world. Particularly in the Asia-Pacific, North Africa, and Middle East regions. Not to mention the Eurozone economic crisis, or Hurricane Sandy, but to totally ignore 3/4 of the geographic space in the Western Hemisphere… As your author I say “Shame on you United States of America, and I implore your elected officials to begin paying more attention to your neighbors down South!”
Below CSA presents some articles from different perspectives and sources which are examining this question of why the US has so ignored the region of Latin America.
Reuters: Analysis: Obama faces Latin America revolt over drugs, trade
By Brian Winter
SAO PAULO | Fri Nov 9, 2012 9:55am EST
(Reuters) – President Barack Obama will face an unprecedented revolt by Latin American countries against the U.S.-led drug war during his second term and he also may struggle to pass new trade deals as the region once known as “America’s backyard” flexes its muscles like never before.
Washington’s ability to influence events in Latin America has arguably never been lower. The new reality is as much a product of the United States’ economic struggles as a wave of democracy and greater prosperity that has swept much of the region of 580 million people in the past decade or so.
It’s not that the United States is reviled now – far from it. Although a few vocally anti-U.S. leaders like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez tend to grab the media spotlight, Obama has warm or cordial relations with Brazil, Mexico and other big countries in the region.
Most Latin American leaders were rooting, either privately or publicly, for his re-election on Tuesday.
Click here to read the complete article direct from Reuters
The Guatemala Times: The US elections: a view from Latin America
It has been this year’s most notable absentee: whatever happened to Latin America as a theme in the presidential campaign?
A great paradox in Tuesday’s United States elections is that of the growing significance of the Hispanic vote and the almost total absence of Latin America on the candidates’ agenda. The Hispanic vote is particularly important in swing states such as Florida and Nevada, although its presence is much wider—in California, Texas, Arizona, New York, New Mexico and Illinois, among other states.
Though the relationship between Hispanic voters and black candidates has been historically a complex one, Hispanics came through for Barack Obama in 2008, with 65% of their votes going to the candidate of “hope and change”. This time, polls indicate as much as 70% of them will vote for the incumbent president. This could make the difference between winning or losing in Nevada (where Obama is ahead, albeit by a small margin) and in Florida (which is essentially tied).
In years to come, the state to watch is Texas. According to many observers, the growing Mexican-American population there, whose most visible up-and-coming leader is Julian Castro, the charismatic mayor of San Antonio, who delivered a rousing keynote at the Democratic Convention in Charlotte last August, will mean that some point in the near future the Hispanic vote will have Texas switch from a Republican to a Democratic majority state. With California and New York already in that camp, flipping Texas may mean relegating the Republican party to a permanent minority condition in the Electoral College, confined to the Deep South and the Rocky Mountain states.
Click here to read the complete article direct from the Guatemala Times
World Policy Blog: The U.S. Should Stop Ignoring Latin America
By Robert Valencia
A great share of the world grew disappointed after seeing the last debate between President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney, where foreign policy rhetoric geared heavily toward Middle East and Chinese affairs. Latin America only received one brief mention by Romney. Given the current domestic gridlock in Washington D.C. and the mounting turmoil in Syria and Afghanistan, Latin America is doomed to be on the back burner once again, but a new White House administration should change this by curbing the War on Drugs and strengthening its bonds with Brazil, the second largest economy in the Americas
Latin Americans should not expect a 180-degree change in U.S. policies after the election. During the first Republican debates this year, three presidential hopefuls—Romney included—talked about Cuba and Venezuela’s possible connections with Al-Qaeda, and expressed their wish to see Fidel Castro dead. Yet no Republican candidate offered concrete steps in fostering democracy, strengthening economic bonds or improving security.
Both Obama and Romney have vowed to continue the U.S. War on Drugs. At the Summit of the Americas in Colombia, President Obama emphasized that he would not change the draconian policy, despite its dire consequences for those both north and south of Rio Grande. Likewise, Romney made clear on U.S. Hispanic TV channel Univision that he would continue the same drug policies as the current administration. No, the White House will not change its position, despite the outrageous death toll in Mexico, the new routes for smuggling narcotics onto U.S. streets, the indiscriminate incarceration of U.S. citizens of color for possessing small amounts of drugs, and the disastrous effects on Central American villages of military raids against drug kingpins.
Click here to read the complete article direct from the World Policy Blog
NACLA (North American Congress on Latin America): Obama’s Election and the Caribbean: What Does it Mean?
The Other Side of Paradise
November 8, 2012
Early Wednesday morning the Caribbean breathed a sigh of relief with the re-election of Barack Obama. A Romney victory would have ushered in a period of uncertainty, as it was expected that he would pursue a more aggressive stance towards Cuba and other left leaning governments in the region. During the debates however, it became apparent that Latin America and the Caribbean was not an area of deep concern for either candidate as the foreign policy discussion was intensely focused on matters relating to the potential conflict with Iran, security in post-Gaddafi Libya, Israel/Palestine, Syria and the trade imbalance with China.
While Caribbean Prime Ministers immediately extended their congratulations to Obama, their expressions of cautious optimism also came with calls for more meaningful engagement with the region. For example, Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit sent his congratulations to Obama, remarking that “The relationship between the United States and Dominica continues to be strong, based on mutual respect…we work very diligently on matters relating to regional security and we look forward to advancing those efforts. Clearly, the U.S. focus is on anti-terrorism matters and they moved away from issues relating to development in the region. But I am hoping that the new term of President Obama there would be some kind of re-direction towards developmental issues.”
Click here to read the complete article direct from NACLA
The Huffington Post: Latin America 2013: A Look Ahead
By Eric FarnsworthVice President, Council of the Americas
Assuming that the world does not end, according to the Mayan calendar in December, 2013 will be an important year south of the U.S. border. There are a number of issues to watch in determining the hemisphere’s direction, although most depend less on the Nov. 6 election results and more on factors that are out of White House control. Savvy observers of the region will watch the 10 “C’s” as the real policy drivers.
The first of these is Castro, as in Raul and Fidel. The U.S. election may bring a moderate tightening or loosening of U.S. restrictions on engagement with the island. The Cuban regime may or may not continue its episodic policy liberalization — Cuban perestroika — as a means to extend rather than overturn the Cuban system. But the real driver of change will be the death of one or both of the Castros. While it’s true that no one has yet won a bet predicting their death, even the Castro brothers will succumb at some point to nature. Each passing year makes that more likely. When they do, there will be a power struggle on the island, and the United States will be faced with the critical decision of how to respond. This will be a game-changer, with historic implications, sucking the oxygen out of other hemispheric policy matters at least for a time. It is the one issue above all others that has the potential to scramble hemispheric policy, putting bilateral relations on the road to normalization and removing an irritant in the broader hemispheric agenda. Or not. The truth is that nobody knows what will come after the Castros, but the U.S. response must be nuanced and appropriate so as to encourage, rather than discourage, the advent of true democracy on the island.
The second “C” is related: Chavez. Having been re-elected Oct. 7 to another presidential term, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez nonetheless is battling cancer, which some say is quite serious; others give a more optimistic prognosis. Whatever the truth, it appears that Chavez is taking steps to position his supporters to continue the Bolivarian Revolution after he passes, most notably with the elevation of Nicolás Maduro to the vice presidency. Still, nobody in Venezuela appears to have the same charisma as Chavez, whose margin of victory in October was much less than in previous elections. Chavez won; Chavismo apparently took it on the chin. A power struggle is a strong possibility after Chavez passes away. Here, again, if Chavez dies, the United States will face an immediate challenge, working with others in the hemispheric including Brazil and Colombia to midwife a peaceful transition with a hoped for institution of the transparent social democratic model that has worked wonders in Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, and elsewhere in the Americas.
Click here to read the complete article direct from The Huffington Post