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.
There are only the slightest of indications that Senators Obama and Clinton or even Senator McCain have any different intentions. So, trying to parse their positions to make a case for one over another is harder to do than guessing who will end up winning the World Cup.