Thursday, September 04, 2014

The US and Latin America

Gregory Weeks gives a quick overview of US relations with Latin America in Is the US 'losing' Latin America? Aljazeera America 09/04/2014:

... the desire to reaffirm US influence contributes to unwise policy prescriptions based on the notion that the US government must once again assert itself. These include imposing sanctions on Venezuela, viewing China as an automatic threat, focusing excessively on claims of Middle Eastern terrorists in the region, and resisting engagement with Cuba. These responses actually worsen US relations in the region.
He also makes this key point about Venezuela:

So, for example, it should not be about Venezuela. A common argument is that President Hugo Chavez, and then to a lesser extent his successor Nicolas Maduro, would spread their "21st century socialist" ideology to other countries. This most recently came from Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa. In fact, around Latin America few leaders have shown more than superficial interest in copying either Chavez's political or economic models, while Venezuelan foreign policy influence remains limited to the relatively few countries to which it gives highly subsidised oil. The "loss" seems to refer primarily to the fact that Venezuela has any influence at all. [emphasis in original]
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