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December 22, 2008

Latin America Thought of the Day
Posted by Moira Whelan

I've been mulling this over for a few weeks and just want to throw it out there...

As of late, I've heard a number of folks in circles more prone to nail-biting than my own express concern about Russia building relationships in Latin America, and others expressing concern about growing Iranian presence in Latin America.

But basically, I think this ignores the problem of the lack of presence of the United States in Latin America, no? I mean, they told us not to come to a major conference. To me, this is probably one of the greatest examples of the United States's diminishing role around the world as a result of the failed policies of the Bush Administration.

I'm not diminishing the importance of these developments, but I am saying that the Russian and Iranian presence may be ripe for neocon overreaction, while the fact that the Bush Administration messed things up so much that no countries want us around and would rather hang out with Chavez and Castro may be given short shrift.


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It is not just the Bush administration that Latin Americans are angry at, but rather US foreign policy during the last fifty years. In the seventies and eighties the US backed right-winged dictatorships in Chile and Argentina. Even after the Chilean regime was deposed of, the US blocked efforts by human rights campaigners to bring the Chilean dictator Pinochet to justice. Obama needs to give a speech to Latin American leaders saying that he is sorry for the actions of previous administrations and that there needs to be a new start in US-Latin American relations.

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