Friday, June 14, 2019

Democrats Debating Latin America

Dan Restrepo calls on the Democratic candidates to formulate a vision for Latin America in their debate later this month.
The temptation will be strong to ask red-meat questions about Cuba and Venezuela narrowly cast to a South Florida audience. 
Instead, the moderators should ask for a broader vision, one that would also tackle the two overarching challenges facing the Americas today—migration and corruption. Two issues, sadly, on which the Trump Administration has singularly failed to lead.
I am certain migration will be part of the debates--how could it not?--but let's see whether it is framed primarily as a domestic issue rather than one that is also foreign policy.

I would be surprised if corruption and rule of law is mentioned very much outside the context of Cuba and Venezuela, but it would be great. Democracy is particularly fragile right now (and presidents are unpopular). He also mentions climate change, which I also doubt they will address in the Latin American context, but I would like to be surprised.

In general what I would like to see is a conscious reframing of U.S.-Latin American relations that gets away from the current victimhood. For Trump, the U.S. is always the victim, paying too much, giving away too much, etc. and that leads to counter-productive policies. Just at a minimum, calling Latin American countries partners would be a good start.


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