[...] the previous U.S. administration, while sometimes accused of neglecting the region, actually doubled foreign assistance to Latin America to $1.85 billion in 2009. By doing this, and by making more trips to the region and inviting more leaders to the White House, Washington will go a long way toward ending the climate of suspicion and antipathy that has dominated, fairly or unfairly, much of the past decade.
DIPLOMACY The U.S. Knocks On Open Doors trips in 2008, where we met with the presidents of Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, and corrupt governments in the region. In Argentina, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner continues Bolivia. What struck me was how to battle inflation and interna- JOeL e. StArr our conversations differed from tional creditors, with public and A new dawn may be on the their public messages—both about private debt held against Argen- horizon for U.S. relations Venezuela and the United States. tina totaling $26.5 billion. in the Hemisphere. Fresh Paraguayan President Fernando The new U.S. administration POLICY UPDATE from meeting his hemispheric Lugo shared with us a message should move forward to counterparts at the Summit of for the new U.S. president: “Tell immediately assist these leaders in the Americas, President Barack Obama that the President of Para- accomplishing domestic priorities. Obama has a unique opportunity guay dreams of a different Latin The President will be knocking to use the political goodwill America. Tell him we should have on an open door: along with Lugo, he has generated to revive a relationship we dream to have.” the presidents and their staffs existing partnerships or create In Ecuador, when the expressed great enthusiasm for new multilateral relationships. conversation turned to Venezuela, President Obama. More dynamic and harmonious President Rafael Correa referred Perhaps Obama can exploit this relationships would not only to President Hugo Chávez as goodwill by bringing sympathetic open areas for collaboration regional leaders together in a and provide the conditions for special summit of democracies. greater regional prosperity and The United States forgave Call it the Bolivarian Democratic growth, but also serve to blunt $19 billion in foreign Summit to attract the Venezuelan the worrying trend of cash-for- leader, with a promise that the influence politics. debt to Lati
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