What Do the WikiLeaks Cables Say About Latin America?

From Mensaje magazine via Mirada Global:

Thousands of secret cables from U.S. diplomacy published by WikiLeaks show us an unflattering portrait of Latin America. The reports from the embassies to Washington have two clearly different messages. One is in the analysis of U.S. diplomats. This level, as one could expect, reproduces the priorities of U.S. foreign policy. What’s surprising are the opinions expressed by important politicians from different countries, in some cases criticizing colleagues or heads of state, and in others, forgetting the most elemental prudence when it comes to expressing an opinion.


It’s clear that the leaks that were published show a partial and biased vision. The concern of U.S. diplomats about the health of the leaders of the region is noteworthy. This aspect includes the emotional stability of Argentinean president Cristina Fernández to the back pains of the deposed Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya. In any case, the cables published were the juiciest ones, that is, those that reveal conflicts or demeaning opinions about public figures. Yet, there is a clear lack of action agenda of U.S. regional diplomacy. From this bunch of messages one cannot find an overview that reveals Washington’s leading political or economic leadership. Instead, there is a reactive attitude, focused on two issues: the fight against drug trafficking, and on the political scenario, containing Hugo Chávez’s government and that of his Bolivarian allies.

Also available in Spanish.

Tim Reidy


Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Gabriel Marcella
6 years 11 months ago
The author of this article comments on US policy in Latin America based on a very small sample of diplomatic messages. His conclusions distort reality and suggest a poor understanding of how American diplomacy works. Some observations:

1. Interest, therefore reporting, in the health of leaders is absolutely essential in diplomacy.

2.The urgency and quantity of message traffic on Mexico recognizes the reality of the very deep US-Mexican relationship and the challenges posed by the drug related violence on both sides of the border. It's logical that Mexico receive such attention.

3. Human rights reporting is very prominent in message traffic to and from Washington. Indeed, annually the Department of State publishes an extensive human rights report on all the countries of the world. In countries in crisis, such as Colombia and Mexico, the reporting is even more extensive because Congress, the media, and various interest groups, the American people demand it. It's also necessary for sound policy. The reporting includes information on such things as the treatment of prisoners and con-combatants, displaced people, child labor, treatment of women, members of labor unions, ethnic and religious minorities, and more.

4. Reporting on trade, economic development, and technology is a very prominent part of the reporting because of the need to expand markets for American goods and investments.

5. Let's compliment the author for a key insight: "What does stand out in some countries is the desire of some authorities to win Washington’s support. In any case, for decades this has been the tendency in several capitals of the hemisphere despite a public speech that says otherwise." In other words, what you read in the papers does not always reflect what's said privately in the ministries and chancelleries. Much of the anti-Americanism expressed is for public consumption. but this can become a dangerous and counter-productive game, as the author intimates.

Bill Mazzella
6 years 11 months ago
The situation in Mexico is puzzling to me. Thugs can rule the land and we just deplore the situation. If terrorists started getting power  we would invade and give them billions annually. Shouldn't we do more in Mexico. 


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