Obama’s Foray into Latin America

In NLLSA on April 20, 2009 by nllsachair Tagged:

Obama’s first trip to Latin America has been interesting to say the least.

The Hot Topic over the last few days has been the Summit of the Americas , which just ended with no official declaration.  Before he left for the Summit, the President responding to the increasingly vocal pressure to ease the travel ban and trade embargo against Cuba, but made clear that Cuba must make the next move .  In addition to having to defend his changes to America’s Cuba policy, since leaving the Caribbean President Obama has also had to defend his overtures to Chavez.

In other news, the drug war just south of the border continues between the Mexican government and the drug cartels.  Mexico has pleaded with the U.S. for more help in controlling the flow of American-made arms across the border that are then used against Mexican authorities.  After meeting with Mexican President Calderon, President Obama pledged to crack down  on the illegal flow of arms into Mexico.  

What I find astonishing is that despite the financial crisis, the uproar over the torture memos, the budgetary battles in Congress, two wars, and everything else going on, that the White House will nevertheless pursue immigration reform.  It sounds counter-intuitive, but the long to-do list might make this the perfect time to push for comprehensive immigration reform.  Obama might want to read up on President Bush’s failure to pass his massive immigration bill, reportedly one of the 12 most important events of his presidency.

He’s got quite the agenda right now: relations with Cuba, Venezuela, & Bolivia; the drug war in Mexico & Colombia; and the increasingly vocal Brazil.  No doubt, he’s got his hands full.  

I wonder what Latin Americans in the United States feel about President Obama’s first foray into the region.


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