Granma has an analysis of U.S. policy toward Latin America that is remarkably free of ideological fervor. As a matter of fact, I think this largely hits the nail on the head:
However, Carlos Oliva Campos, a faculty member at the University of Havana, commented to Granma, "The fact that the region is not a priority for a given administration does not mean that the region has lost its critical importance within the heart of U.S. foreign policy. Practically, throughout our entire history, we have served as a laboratory for policies and a proving ground for strategies."
"Although the Middle East, Asia, and Russia under Putin, are priorities, Obama’s policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean is essentially a continuation," he said.
"The Summit of the Americas was very important because the region is no longer the same. Now there is another relationship of forces, very interesting, because it’s the ‘left’, not just socialists, which is complicating the U.S. response. What’s more, the U.S. is no longer the only defining external factor for markets or trade in the region."
The "laboratory" angle is the subject of scholarly books by both Greg Grandin (Empire's Workshop) and Brian Loveman (No Higher Law). The point is that even though the United States appears to be "ignoring" Latin America (whatever that means precisely) it is keeping Latin America in a global perspective (e.g. all the talk about Colombian counterinsurgency and counternarcotics operations being applied in Afghanistan). Meanwhile, Barack Obama has not changed the policies of George W. Bush all that much.