Nice to see this from Joe Biden:
As leaders across the region work to lift their citizens out of poverty and to diversify their economies from commodity-led growth, the U.S. believes that the greatest promise—for Americans and for our neighbors—lies in deeper economic integration and openness.
I like the explicit recognition of how commodity-based growth is problematic. Historically, of course, the U.S. has loved that type of growth because it benefited greatly from it.
At the same time, however, he was praising free trade agreements, which in fact create an incentive to use economies of scale to produce commodities. In other words, free trade alone doesn't lead to diversification. Interestingly, Biden also began the op-ed by praising...flower farms (though, to be fair, he mentioned small businesses).
In general, though, this sort of recognition of basic facts about Latin American development, so long absent in U.S. policy, is welcome. And while all kinds of pundits decry the lack of "leadership" in U.S. policy toward Latin America, in many ways this recognition is more valuable than creating grand plans to "lead" something.