Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Latin America awaits Obama action

Washington analysts on Obama`s policies towards Latin America are careful in predicting too much changes in the policy. “No major changes or initiatives, but a change in tone”, is the common attitude. Despite a huge involvement in Latin America and several areas of common interest, the current situation with economic recession and involvement in two wars are reducing the likeliness of major change. Latin America was hardly mentioned in the electoral campaign, and Obama has never put his feet on the continent. However, the more soft power approach to foreign policy promoted by Obama can open for understanding and more fruitful cooperation between the two.

On the issue of Cuba, Obama slightly mentioned a small policy shift towards Cuba in the campaign. He wants to reduce the restrictions on family travel to Cuba and on remittances sent from the US back to relatives in Cuba. Nevertheless, any breakdown of the US trade embargo is not likely to happen in the near future.

Migration has also been an issue of mutual interest, and Obama has pronounced a desire to reform the path to legal status. At the same time, the issue of migration is receding because of the US economic downturn and the return of immigrants to their home countries.

Finally, Obama`s pledge to restore the US position in the world can possibly contribute to a change in the general Latin American indifference about US policy towards Latin America.

Here is the link to the complete article from BBC News


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