Andres Oppenheimer's current column is an example of the difficulties many people have in figuring out Latin America's relationship with the United States. So we start with the notion that the U.S. is losing ground in Latin America:
My opinion: Washington has lost some of its former economic clout in Latin America, but that started under former President George. W. Bush, and is not an irreversible tragedy.
But then a funny thing happens when he examines this "tragedy":
As Latin America’s commodity-based radical populist fad of the past decade begins to unravel, Washington will no longer be an almighty superpower, but a big first among equals.
Aha! The tragedy is more equality. Therein lies the rub. There is considerable discomfort with the idea that the United States does not dominate the hemisphere as it did during the Cold War. Make no mistake about it, the U.S. is still by far the most powerful and influential state in the region. But it is not so dominant.
That's a good thing for everyone involved, including the United States. But it is leading to quite a lot of whining, even by those--like Oppenheimer himself--who have been at least in rhetorical support of greater equality.