Monday, March 24, 2014

U.S. Engagement in Latin America

Boz makes a point that is quite similar to one I've made in the past as well, which is that there is plenty of U.S. engagement in Latin America.

Just in March:
  • Vice President Biden visited Chile for the inauguration of Bachelet and gave a good interview to local media there.
  • Treasury Secretary Lew visited Brazil (and Mexico), the highest ranking official to visit Brazil since the postponed state visit. Rousseff is now hinting she wants the visit to happen.
  • Assistant Secretary Jacobson traveled to Paraguay (and Brazil and Chile) where she promoted education exchanges.
  • After a request by President Obama and Secretary Kerry, Uruguay President Mujica agreed to take five Guantanamo detainees.
But please feel free to start your ridiculous op-ed on Venezuela with the indisputable fact that the US is "ignoring" or "not paying attention" to Latin America. The editors never fact check those unmeasurable claims anyway.

I couldn't agree more. The idea of "ignoring" or "drift" seems to boil down to one or more of the following three requirements:

1. Failing to have a grant strategy
2. Failing to enact large-scale trade agreements
3. Not cracking down hard on Venezuela

None of these three mention the constant and often vibrant state of affairs on the ground. If it's not BIG then it's unimportant. There is nothing inherently preferable about big policies, and in the history of U.S.-Latin American relations they've often been negative.

Even right now, though, someone is hard at work on a soon-to-be published op-ed about how the U.S. is ignoring Latin America and how awful that is.


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