Latin America: Forgotten in the US Vote

None of the three American presidential candidates has articulated anything close to a broad vision for US-Latin American relations. Indeed, with the exception of the immigration issue, on which only Senator Barack Obama has acted courageously, all of the candidates apparently view Latin America solely in terms of free-trade deals.

Berkeley -- As voters in the United States handicap the presidential race, Latin Americans can watch and imagine what a President Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or John McCain might do for their countries. Which candidate is best for Latin America?  Does it make any difference if Barak Obama or Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee and does it matter if one of them or the Republican John McCain wins in November?

For decades, trade has been the modus operandi of U.S foreign policy in the region, but some administrations have had broader agendas.  Remember Jimmy Carter’s human rights driven policy?  Or the Reagan and Bush I era of interventionism that, depending on your point of view, either saved the region from revolutionaries or suppressed needed change.  

Like them or not, Carter and Reagan offered sharp contrasts in how they dealt with Latin America. In the last 16 years, however, the Democratic and Republican presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have offered virtually the same take: free trade all the way.

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