Was Obama's Trip to Latin America Useless?

From Mensaje magazine via Mirada Global:

“Obama’s useless trip” was the title that Spanish newspaper El País used to summarize the overall impression after U.S. President’s trip to Latin America last March. While it was intended to become a re-foundational moment in the relationship of the country with the region after a long period of misunderstandings, the result was disconcerting for most of the media and the elites of the region: it was a trip with a highly symbolic value and importance for El Salvador and Central America, but which lacked substantive contents of continental importance that might enable Washington to regain regional leadership....
 
The question therefore is why doesn’t the United States manage to get off this defensive and reactive position. Some answers usually concentrate in explanations related with U.S. internal polity or global dynamics, and they could be partly correct. They sustain that for the first two years Obama has had to face a huge agenda of problems which had weakened him tremendously until lately and which left —once more— Latin America among his lowest priorities. Others have pointed to more substantive difficulties, such as the relative decline of U.S. global and regional influence, and the increasing autonomy of emerging regions, including Latin America. Both factors seem to be affecting the possibility of an agenda between both parties, but they don’t seem to be a good enough explanation. To domestic restrictions and its relative decrease in power resources, we must add the fact that Washington faces increasing difficulties to agree upon policies with the most important countries of the region, difficulties that are still relevant enough to prevent a minimum basis of agreements concerning a shared continental policy.

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Also available in Spanish.

Tim Reidy

 

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