Frank Mora and Brian Fonseca have an interesting article in Prism, a security studies journal connected to the National Defense University. Their main argument is that we need to look more at non-state interactions to really understand U.S.-Latin American relations.
The “real action” or impact is occurring below the state at other levels of interaction where non-state actors and individuals, such as universities, small to large companies, churches, transnational civil society organizations, media, etc. interact with their counterparts throughout the hemisphere in an organic way giving texture and meaning to U.S.-LAC relations.
I agree with this, and have argued before that the "grand strategy" approach, which is tied to the "we're ignoring Latin America" thing, is wrongheaded.
I'd like to think about how to measure this because it is ripe for more study. It's harder than simply analyzing aid, trade, treaties, pacts, etc. It's really about measuring soft power.