Obama’s Latin America Policy: A Score Card
According to Senator McCain, “John F. Kennedy described the peoples of Latin America as the United States’ ‘firm and ancient friends, united by history and by the United States’ determination to advance the values of American civilization throughout the hemisphere’” (Kennedy, 1962, quoted in McCain, 2007: 30). Latin American countries make natural partners of the United States, despite previous United States’ administrations having inattentively polluted this relationship. However, from the moment he became America’s 44th president, Barack H. Obama expressed a policy toward Latin America that was centered on the idea of equal partnership and mutual engagement, by saying, “I know that promises of partnership have gone unfulfilled in the past. There would be no senior or junior partner to this new engagement; there is simply engagement based on mutual respect; common interests and shared values” (Obama, 2009). This paper will examine President Obama’s foreign policy legacy in Latin America looking at his change of strategy on US-Cuba relations and the challenges that followed. The initial part will examine U.S. foreign policy shift from Bush to the Obama administration. The paper concludes that despite Obama’s Latin America policy not living to its full expectation, it was more pragmatic, cordial and multilateral than most American administrations to date.
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