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Asunto:[redluzargentina] U.S. - Latin American relations
Fecha:Domingo, 23 de Enero, 2005  10:26:45 (-0600)
Autor:Anahuak Home <redanahuak @...............mx>

Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 17:01:44 -0600 
To: Foro Economia Alternativa <economialternativa@gruposyahoo.com> 
Subject: [economialternativa] U.S. - Latin American relations 
 
From: elizabeth palm <lizapalm@prodigy.net.mx> 
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2005 17:29:08 -0600 
To: Ricardo G Ocampo <redanahuak@cablevision.net.mx> 
Subject: U.S. - Latin American relations 
 
The Council on Hemispheric Affairs 
Less of the Same: Lackluster U.S.-Latin American Relations to continue
 unde
r 
Second Bush Administration 
 
Yesterday George W. Bush officially began his second term in office and 
those familiar with U.S.-Latin American relations have little hope for 
improved ties between Washington and its traditional “backyard.” Ever since 
the attacks of September 11, 2001, the region has been all but forgotten as 
the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have consumed U.S. resources and
 attention
. 
Little is likely to change with the coming confirmation of super hawk and 
Sovietologist Condoleezza Rice, who has uttered scarcely a word on Latin 
America, as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s replacement. Here is a look
 a
t 
what the Bush administration has done in Latin America during the last four 
years and what to expect during the next four. 
 
Powell and the Haiti Situation 
By belatedly introducing U.S. and foreign forces into Haiti following the 
February 29, 2004 ousting of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Washington 
guaranteed that Haiti’s deeply scarred society is unlikely to easily 
recuperate from the wounds inflicted on it by foreign and domestic
 villains
, 
including the bankrupt current interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue’s 
government. Of all those who played a role in bringing down Aristide’s 
constitutional rule, outgoing Secretary of State Powell’s reputation is
 mos
t 
likely to be tarnished. In effect, he willingly became the captive of the 
Bush administration’s obsessive right-wing ideologues—the fateful sons of 
former Senator Jesse Helms—led by Assistant Secretary of State Roger
 Norieg
a 
and former White House aide Otto Reich. Reich and Noriega saw U.S.-Latin 
American relations almost exclusively through the prism of full-time Havana 
bashing. If a Latin American government displayed a moderate and respectful 
attitude towards the Castro regime, it became the unremitting target of 
their ire.  
 
Rather than staunchly backing pragmatic initiatives aimed at constructively 
relieving the regions’ social deficits—particularly the continued expansion 
of poverty and concentration of wealth—Powell’s relatively few speeches on 
Latin America emphasized only trade, market reform and an overly simplified 
view of the need for democracy expansion. Additionally, rather than genuine 
concern, Powell’s interest in human rights always seemed to reflect 
selective indignation towards left-wing regimes, like Venezuela. When it 
came to the region’s reaction to the Iraq war, Powell saw to it that a 
number of Latin American nations were dragooned into joining the “Coalition 
of the Willing.” As for those that continued to dissent, such as the
 Chilea
n 
and Mexican ambassadors to the UN, he pressured their respective 
government’s to withdraw them from their post. It is little surprise then, 
that an estimated 85 percent of Latin Americans were opposed to a Bush 
victory in the 2004 presidential election. 
 
Rice and Latin America 
Powell, at least occasionally, addressed hemispheric issues. One cannot say 
the same of his successor, Secretary of State designee Condoleezza Rice.
 Sh
e 
has barely mentioned the region in public and in what may very well have 
been one of her most profound statement involving hemispheric issues as 
National Security Advisor, Rice chided Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. 
Patterson for admitting the exiled Aristide into his country so he could 
reunite with his family. 
 
Aside from attacking Cuba as an “outpost of tyranny” and calling the
 action
s 
of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’ government “very deeply troubling,” as 
she did during her Senate confirmation hearing, Rice has shown neither a 
substantial interest nor a particular competence regarding the region.
 Ther
e 
will certainly be no softening of the U.S.’ position toward Cuba during 
Bush’s second term and she likely will use her Cold War-bred intellectual 
credentials to hunt down any left-wing manifestations in the region. What 
less ideological eyes would see as a new generation of populist leaders, in 
Rice’s hawkish vision the current heads of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and 
Uruguay appear as potential nettlesome leftists who could eventually pose a 
threat to vital U.S. national interests. Be it extending or intensifying
 th
e 
perimeter of the White House’s anti-terrorism war or expanding the U.S. 
Southern Command’s sphere of operation, under Rice’s jurisdiction, a
 versio
n 
of the Cold War could soon be brought to Latin America. This is
 particularl
y 
true if she interprets Bush’s call for freedom and liberty as a battle cry 
to expel dissident political figures like Castro or Chávez from power. 
 
Venezuela’s New Partner…China 
Relations between the U.S. and Venezuela have remained frosty ever since
 th
e 
Congressionally-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) helped
 financ
e 
the conservative opposition’s unsuccessful coup against Chávez in April 
2002. Washington will no doubt have to sharpen its eye on
 Chinese-Venezuela
n 
relations as those two nations recently signed a deal to increase their 
trade to $3 billion annually. Venezuela, whose 77.8 billion barrels is the 
largest proven oil reserve in the Western Hemisphere, currently supplies up 
to 15% of the U.S.’ imported petroleum. As the usual combative rhetoric 
between the Bush administration and Chávez continues at an even more 
frenzied pace, and with China threatening the U.S.’ consumption of 
Venezuelan oil, Washington already has begun exploring its “contingency 
plans,” as requested by the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign 
Relations Committee, Richard Lugar. 
 
Central America and Free Trade 
As for Central America, Washington is not all that dismayed by the elevated 
levels of corruption and drug trafficking in the region, which is
 extractin
g 
a high toll on El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and even Costa Rica. As 
gang violence also spirals out of control, Washington remains more 
interested in getting the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), 
along with the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), enacted. Strong 
opposition to both, however, for their failure to ensure acceptable labor 
rights and environmental protection, is certain to hurt their chances of 
being ratified and implemented. Additionally, as the number of Central 
American refugees in the U.S. grows, they will become an increasingly 
powerful voting bloc that the Bush administration will no doubt court. Many 
of these immigrants were victims of U.S. policies in the 1980s (i.e. the 
civil wars in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua), hence the Republicans 
see it as imperative to win back their gratitude in order not to lose such
 
a 
potentially important new voting bloc to the Democrats. The key, it seems, 
will be a liberal immigration status involving a process of legalization. 
 
The War on Drugs  
Colombia will likely continue to be a problem over the next four years. 
Critics often have accused the administration of putting the drug war on
 th
e 
back-burner because no easy victory was in sight. In 2000, Washington did 
enact the multibillion dollar Plan Colombia to combat that country’s drug 
industry, but it has done little to reduce the amount of Colombian cocaine 
arriving to the U.S. Since the drug remains widely available and because 
many observers believe Bush has neglected efforts to reduce U.S. 
consumption, a policy of ‘more of the same’ can be expected for the next 
four years. Furthermore, regardless of whether it should be sent in the 
first place, the aid that Colombia receives from Washington is far from 
being enough both in economic and military terms to achieve Washington’s 
goals. If anything, the aid simply dries up too quickly or is diverted by 
corruption, with the costly endless war in the country certain to continue 
taking its deadly toll. 
 
This analysis was authored by COHA staff and compiled by Research Fellow 
David R. Kolker.  
 
January 21, 2005 
 
COHA HOME PAGE  
 
 
<http://www.coha.org/NEW_PRESS_RELEASES/New_Press_Releases_2005/www.coha.or 
g> The Council on Hemispheric Affairs, founded in 1975, is an independent, 
non-profit, non-partisan, tax-exempt research and information organization. 
It has been described on the Senate floor as being “one of the nation’s
 mos
t 
respected bodies of scholars and policy makers.” For more information, 
please see our web page at www.coha.org; or contact our Washington offices 
by phone (202) 223-4975, fax (202) 223-4979, or email coha@coha.org. 
 
 
 
[Se eliminaron del mensaje las partes que no eran texto] 
 
 
 
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