Tuesday, August 28, 2012

FPIF: Peru Confronts Its Past

Peru Confronts its Past
W. Alex Sanchez
Research Fellow, Council on Hemispheric Affairs
Foreign Policy in Focus
Tuesday August 28, 2012
Originally published: http://bit.ly/QPouUp

Nations trying to come to terms with violence from their recent pasts have a difficult road ahead, and the Andean country of Peru is no exception. The country is grappling with a host of issues stemming from its violent struggle against insurgent movements in the 1980s and 1990s. In the short term, such challenges include determining the fate of individuals –– teachers, for example ­­–– who were prosecuted for terrorism charges and have since served their jail sentences. In the long term, questions have emerged about how the country should teach Peruvian youth about this dark period in their country’s history. Finally, in the background, there is a growing debate regarding what limits, if any, should be placed on organizations and individuals that sympathize with these guerrilla movements.
An Age of Insurgency
From the early 1980s through the mid-1990s, the Peruvian government clashed with two insurgent movements, the Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru(Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, or MRTA) and the Sendero Luminoso(Shining Path). At the height of its power, the MRTA probably had around 500-800 active fighters, while the Shining Path’s combatants numbered around 1,000. But both organizations claimed numerous supporters, sympathizers, and informers who were not necessarily combatants.
The roots of the conflict grew from Lima’s historical neglect of large portions of the country’s underdeveloped periphery, especially the indigenous regions of the Andes and the Amazon. Peru has historically suffered from chronic poverty, with rates reaching up to 60 percent of the population ­­–– sometimes even higher in neglected regions. It is in this context that MRTA and the Shining Path emerged. Their respective leaders, Victor Polay Campos and Abimael Guzman Reynoso, promoted the overthrow of the government in Lima and the installation of a Marxist or Maoist (respectively) new regime. Unsurprisingly, both Polay Campos and Guzman Reynoso saw themselves as the future leaders of the country (Guzman was also known as Presidente Gonzalo).
Due to major military setbacks, including the capture of their leaders in 1992, both groups’ power and areas of control quickly declined during the 1990s. The MRTA’s last major operation was in 1996-1997, when commandos took control of the Japanese embassy in downtown Lima for 126 days, holding captive dozens of high-profile individuals. The Shining Path has two heavily weakened remaining factions, one in the region known as VRAEM (Valley of the Apurimac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers) and the other in the Huallaga region, which straddles the Andes and the Amazon.
MOVADEF and Patria Roja
The problem for Lima now is not just the continuing existence of the Shining Path, now widely regarded as a narco-terrorist organization due to its heavy involvement in cocaine trafficking, but the existence of organizations deemed sympathetic to it—like the Movimiento por Amnistia y Derechos Fundamentales(Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights, or MOVADEF) and a political group known as Patria Roja.
MOVADEF was created by Alfredo Crespo, who is also Abimael Guzman’s lawyer. The group’s goal is to free Guzman and other individuals accused of terrorism, whom MOVADEF considers to be “political prisoners.” The group has twice attempted to register as a political party, but the Peruvian governmentrejected it each time, leading Crespo to decry the government’s “antidemocratic tendencies.” MOVADEF has gained supporters among young Peruvians who are too young to remember firsthand the group’s war on the state.
A July report in The Guardian quoted Vania Rimarachin, a young MOVADEF member, as saying “the only man in the world who can solve our problems is Abimael Guzman.”
Meanwhile, Patria Roja, a group with suspected ties to the Shining Path, has seen some of its supporters in small political parties elected to some important political offices, such as the presidency of the Puno region. In a recent interview, a Patria Roja leader declared that his group was “at war” with the Shining Path, as numerous PR members have been killed by the insurgent group. The group also seems to have some influence in the powerful Syndicate of the Peruvian Union of Education Workers, or SUTEP, which has been tied to the Shining Path in the past. Some Peruvian analysts have argued that the Shining Path may be using Patria Roja as a way to leverage its influence over SUTEP and other labor union movements.
Other analysts have mused that Patria Roja’s ultimate goal is, like MOVADEF’s, to free Guzman. Although it’s highly unlikely that the relatively marginal group could pose a serious challenge to the powers that be, the mere possibility of Patria Roja gaining more influence and power in Peruvian politics presents an alarming scenario for the government, military, and large sections of society in general.
Some prominent Peruvians from outside the political realm have also been criticized for suggesting support for the Shining Path. Recently, Peruvian designer Maximo Laura gave an interview to the daily La Republica in which he called the Shining Path “one of the most important movements that we have had, historically speaking, as it was a project that could have changed Peru.” The statement was not well received in official circles, and Peru’s Tourism Commission demanded that the designer explain what he exactly meant. Facing public scrutiny, Laura publicly declared that he is against the Shining Path and any violent group, adding that he considers Abimael Guzman a terrorist.
Educating the Youth
The education of Peruvian youth adds yet another layer of complexity to Lima’s quandary as the government struggles to find the best ways to discuss the issue in its classrooms. In early January, before the beginning of the school year, the Peruvian daily Expreso alleged that textbooks set to be sold to high school students contained pro-insurgent messages. The paper highlighted, for example, the books’ use of the controversial term resistencia campesina (“peasant resistance”) to refer to the insurgency, rather than one of a host of more derogatory terms. There is also a debate regarding how the findings of the Peruvian truth and reconciliation commission should be taught, particularly over how many of the approximately 70,000 deaths that occurred during the war should be attributed to the Shining Path and the MRTA and how many to the government.
Beyond the textbooks, a considerable controversy has also emerged over the teachers who use them, with several officials speaking out against the rehiring of teachers who have served jail sentences for terrorism charges. In July, Peruvian Education Minister Patricia Salas declared that there are as many as 137 individuals who have been accused of terrorism charges currently working in education centers. Other reports put the number at 802. The head of the Peruvian judicial system, Cesar San Martin, declared that he finds it “perfectly reasonable” that teachers sentenced on terrorism charges should not be allowed to teach again, comparing it to prohibiting individuals charged with corruption from becoming public servants. Fernando Rospigliosi, a former minister of the interior and a current member of congress, has declared that, “a person that gets out of jail deserves to work, but not this kind of work, educating children and probably fomenting ideas against democracy.” However, Hector Lama, president of Lima’s Superior Court, disagrees. “There is no judicial or constitutional impediment that prohibits someone who has carried out their sentence for terrorism from regaining their civilian rights,” the judge said.
The charges against these individuals range from being suspected members of the Shining Path to being actual combatants. The debate raises several questions central to the freedom of expression and employment. Is it ethical to prohibit teachers who were arrested on terrorism charges from educating the Peruvian youth again? Does this allow unlawful or excessive limits on their rights, and does it thwart their attempts to successfully reintegrate into Peruvian society?
Other countries that have faced insurgent movements, such as Colombia, have had a historically mixed record reintegrating former combatants. One the one hand, the authorities are often disinclined to admit their former rivals as legitimate political competitors. For example, Carlos Pizarro, leader of the M-19 guerrilla group that demobilized in the late 1980s, was murdered when he ran for political office. But the major challenge for demobilized troops is that they will once again turn to a life of violence due to the lack of employment opportunities as they try to rejoin civilian society. An academic from the NGO Nuevo Arco Iris estimates the rate of demobilized paramilitaries returning to a life of crime at about 20 percent, and the rate for former FARC members at 10 percent. In light of these kinds of difficulties, the Spanish government has created a new policy called reintegracion individualizada (“personalized reintegration”) to deal with members of the Basque separatist group ETA who surrender.
A Complicated Future
The government must educate Peruvian youth that both the Shining Path and the MRTA were violent insurgent movements that were responsible for most of the deaths that occurred during their war on the state, including several massacres (like in Lucanamarca in 1983) and other major human rights violations. Certainly, the Peruvian government and military carried out their share of violations as well (many by dictator Alberto Fujimori’s infamous death squad, the Grupo Colina), and these deserve attention as well. Moreover, the societal origins of the two insurgent movements—namely, the prevalence of extreme poverty and a lack of government interest in Peru’s indigenous regions—must also be taught. Yet in a heavily politicized climate, this is not an easy balance to reach.
The government has proposed a new law that will penalize individuals who either deny or approve acts of terrorism. Lima maintains that this will not violate freedom of speech in the country, but rather aims to protect society from Shining Path propaganda. The proposal comes not only amid MOVADEF’s continuing campaign to become a political party and the ongoing controversy over insurgent-associated teachers, but also as the Shining Path continues its violent operations. Only weeks ago, in mid-August, Shining Path insurgents ambushed an army patrol in the VRAEM, killing five soldiers and injuringanother five. Certainly, the Peruvian government faces years of challenges as they work toward the potentially conflicting goals of protecting personal freedoms, ensuring unbiased public education, and curbing ongoing acts of terrorism.
With four years remaining as president, one can only hope that President Ollanta Humala, himself a veteran of the army’s campaigns against the Shining Path—for which the country’s opposition media outlets have accused him of human rights violations—has learned that beating guerrilla organizations requires both military might as well as initiatives for development and education.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Space Review: Latin America’s space programs in 2012

Latin America's Space Programs in 2012
W. Alex Sanchez
Research Fellow, Council on Hemispheric Affairs

The Space Review
Monday August 27, 2012
Originally published: http://bit.ly/OqKAjI

In 2008, I wrote a report for my organization, the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, titled “Space Technology Comes to Latin America: Part of the Hemisphere’s Road to Autonomy.” In the article, I discussed the space programs currently being carried out by a number of Latin American states, including Brazil, Peru, and Venezuela. I also highlighted how extra-hemispheric powers, such as China and Russia, as well as some European states, were helping Latin American countries pursue their space dreams.
While these states are still (light) years from being space competitors to the US, Russia, Europe, or China, it is clear that Latin America’s space interests and ambitions are here to stay.

Fast forward to 2012, when NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover scored a major achievement by successfully landing in Gale Crater on August 6. This was an amazing accomplishment for NASA, but it was also source of pride for Peru, as a native of the Andean nation, Melissa Soriano, works in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The role of Soriano can be added to other recent developments that exemplify how Latin American governments and their citizens are becoming increasingly more interested in space. While these states are still (light) years from being space competitors to the US, Russia, Europe, or China, it is clear that Latin America’s space interests and ambitions are here to stay.

Latin American astronauts

Besides Latin American technicians working for NASA, such as the aforementioned Soriano, there is a small but growing number of Latin American astronauts who have gone to space. For example, the Cuban Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez holds the distinction of being the first Latin American to fly in space via the Soyuz 38 spaceship in 1980, which was launched by the Soviet Union.

Other Latin cosmonauts include the Mexican Rodolfo Neri Vela, who participated in STS-61-B in 1985; Franklin Chang-Diaz, an American of Costa Rican descent; and Ellen Ochoa, the first female Hispanic astronaut. In recent years there have also been a number of other “firsts.” For example, Carlos Noriega became the first Peruvian-born astronaut, who flew in 1997’s STS-84. Noriega’s accomplishments are a source of pride for Peru as exemplified by a biography in a Peruvian radio website that explains that “he is an American citizen […] but his sentiments are Peruvian. He displays the red and white colors of our national flag.” Years later, Joseph Acaba became the first individual of Puerto Rican descent to fly to space onboard STS-119 in 2009.

Space research as a regional integration mechanism

An important development that confirms Latin America’s space aspirations occurred during a meeting of the defense ministers of the Union of South American Nations (Union the Naciones Suramericanas – UNASUR) that took place in Lima in November 2011. One of the agreements that came out of the summit was that the representatives collectively deemed it a priority to create a South American space agency. Argentine defense minister Arturo Pucelli declared that collaboration through UNASUR would reduce costs among participating nations, and allow them to share information and carry out multinational projects such as placing satellites in orbit. Before the meeting, the Argentine official had stated that, “the idea of a space agency is not an imitation of Europe but rather for our defense, [where] we will have much more to defend and control from space.”

International aid

A critical issue for the future of Latin America’s space programs is international aid, which comes from either foreign governments or private companies that already possess space technology and are willing to provide it to Latin American states for the right price. For example, Chile successfully deployed a satellite called FASAT-Charlie on December 2011, which is expected to operate until 2018. The satellite can take 2D and 3D photographs of Chilean territory with a particular emphasis on the country’s topography, such as glaciers and volcanoes. The satellite was built as a joint partnership between the Chilean Air Force and the UK’s Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.

Besides private companies, governments are also providing Latin American states with aid to pursue their space dreams. For example, Peru is preparing its second satellite, known as “Chasqui II,” which Lima aims to launch by 2014. Peru’s Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria (National Engineering University) and the renowned Russian South West State University are reportedly collaborating on the project; once it is ready, Russia will launch it. The satellite will monitor deforestation from natural disasters and study Peru’s ocean territory out to 200 miles. Moscow and Lima have a long history of partnerships, not just on space exploration but also on other ventures, such as Peru being a traditional importer of Russian military equipment like helicopters.

One of the agreements that came out of the November 2011 summit was that the representatives collectively deemed it a priority to create a South American space agency.

Furthermore, China has provided aid to a number of South American states with their space-related plans. For example, Venezuela’s Venesat 1, also known as “Simon Bolivar,” was successfully launched from the Xichang Space Centre in China on October 2008. Furthermore, this past June, China Daily published an article announcing a new Sino-Venezuelan cooperation to launch a second Venezuelan satellite this year. The second satellite will be known as “Miranda” and will help monitor natural phenomena such as earthquakes and flooding, in addition to manmade issues like illegal mining. The Chinese newspaper argued that, “by successfully putting the satellite into orbit, Venezuela has taken a step toward technological independence, entering into stiff competition with 62 other countries that are active in space.” It is unsurprising that Beijing is praising Caracas’ attempts at independence as greater inter-state cooperation does not occur in a geopolitical vacuum. Since Hugo Chavez’s election to the presidency, Venezuela has sought new allies, such as China and Russia, instead of maintaining ties with Washington. In fact, Beijing and Caracas have already signed deals worth billions of dollars for oil exploration. Hence, greater space-related relations can be regarded as another way to improve Beijing-Caracas relations.
In addition, China also began developing a communications satellite in conjunction with Bolivia in 2011. The satellite, known as Tupac Katari, is scheduled to be completed by 2013–2014 andwill be built between Bolivia’s state-run agency and the China Great Wall Industry Corporation,a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC). “It [will] benefit Bolivia in areas such as education, medicine and communication,” Bolivia's deputy science and technology minister Pedro Crespo explained. Besides the satellite, reports appeared this past July that up to 74 Bolivian space scientists will be trained in China in order to be ready for the satellite’s launch. The satellite will cost around $300 million. “About $45 million would come from the Bolivian government and the other $250 million comes through a loan from China's Development Bank,” the Chinese Global Times reported.
A critical factor for Latin America’s space aspirations is that several space-states, such as the US and China, are actively helping regional states with their domestic programs.

Finally, it is important to note that NASA has shown interest in improving cooperation with Latin America. Back in 2009, NASA provided technological aid to Argentina with its SAC-D satellite, which was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Furthermore, on September 2010, the agency hosted a revealing symposium about its relationship with Latin America. According to a NASA press release:
The participants discussed some of NASA's ongoing work in Latin America, including the NASA and U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Regional Visualization and Monitoring System. The satellite system provides information from Earth observations to help local decision makers respond to natural disasters, and environmental threats, such as air pollution and fires.
The document also highlighted how NASA has signed more than 30 agreements with 20 Latin American countries. The issues covered by said agreements include Earth and space science as well as space-related education themes.

Brazil: still Latin America’s space poster child

While Bolivia’s, Chile’s, and Peru’s accomplishments and future plans are significant, Brazil, with its growing economy, remains the major case study of a government pushing its own domestic space program. The giant South American nation has the necessary financial resources to undertake such projects. For example, Brasilia has stated its interest in placing a satellite in orbit by 2014 for civilian and defense purposes. According to reports, the construction, launch, and control of the satellite will cost close to 700 million reales ($390 million USD). The Brazilian ministry of defense is particularly interested in a homemade satellite as it will facilitate better communication across defense systems, such as between border troops and naval units, including submarines. Another positive aspect of the satellite will be that it will allow the Brazilian air force to better monitor the country’s air space.
A 2010 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on Latin America’s space programs pays particular attention to Brazil’s space ambitions and puts them in a geopolitical context. The report explains that:
Civil space exploration is still a requirement for achieving great power status. This lesson has not been lost on Brazil […] The need for [independent access to space] is something that Brazil has made a priority, as evidenced by the focus on space in its 2008 National Defense Strategy report. Brazil not only wants to develop greater launch capacity, but it also wants to build satellites for earth observation and enhanced communication capacity. [ CSIS report, P. 5]
Sadly, just like other countries with emerging space programs, Brazil has suffered its share of fatalities in the name of space exploration. In August 2003, an explosion at a VLS-3 rocket in the Alcantara Launch Center killed 21 people, mostly civilian technicians, and destroyed two research satellites.


While the space programs of several Latin American states have existed for some time, they are still in their most primitive stages as compared to “Global North” countries like the US, Europe, and Russia. Certainly, it should be noted that Latin American states (with Brazil as the lone exception) will not be capable of launching their own manned satellites or other spacecraft anytime in the near future, which, as CSIS argues, is a critical component to space independency. Nevertheless, there have been some significant advances in the past few years. The launch of home-built satellites by countries like Argentina and Venezuela (even with international aid) exemplifies that these countries possess a rudimentary knowledge that is only going to grow. The fact that we now see even more astronauts of Latin American origin, alongside the strong presence of Latin Americans in NASA’s pool of engineer experts, is a promising development.

Finally, a critical factor for Latin America’s space aspirations is that several space-states, such as the US and China, are actively helping regional states with their domestic programs. At one point in the future this may spark some debate, as Earth-bound geopolitical and security issues continue to spill over to space, particularly as governments currently characterized by anti-Washington sentiments, such as Caracas and La Paz, are receiving technological space-related aid from countries like China. In any case, while not yet a participant in the space race, it seems clear that Latin America as a whole is looking to the skies with ambitious eyes.

VOXXI: Dan Restrepo’s dismissal and how Washington forgot about Latin America

Dan Restrepo's dismissal and how Washington Forgot Latin America
W. Alex Sanchez
Research Fellow, Council on Hemispheric Affairs
August 27, 2012
Originally published: http://bit.ly/PJexf6

A few months ago, what should have been an important development in U.S.-Latin American relations went largely unnoticed by the media. Dan Restrepo, Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere on the National Security Council staff, was released from his job and joined the private sector. Any change in the president’s senior advisory staff should be a newsworthy milestone, but given President Barack Obama’s weak Latin American strategy throughout his presidency, the U.S. media’s lack of interest in Restrepo’s departure once again betrays the current White House’s indifference to the region.

Obama’s key White House staff

Arguably, Restrepo’s departure had a lot to do with timing more than what he accomplished during his tenure. The removal occurred just after Obama’s trip to the Summit of the Americas that took place in Cartagena, Colombia this past May. The trip was marred with problems for the White House, ranging from the Secret Service scandal to verbal attacks between heads of state, including ones against Washington. Argentine President Cristina Fernandez went as far as leaving the summit because there was no declaration regarding the Falklands/Malvinas dispute with London, while Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa did not even attend. The U.S. was also severely criticized for prohibiting Cuban participation in the summit.
It’s unclear how many of the those controversies Restrepo could have prevented (for example, it is safe to assume that the Secret Service members’ decision to hire Colombian prostitutes was beyond his control), but it seemed clear that someone would lose his job after so many things had gone awry. A report by the Center for International Policy’s Americas program quotes a Democratic insider who follows Latin American affairs as saying that “[President Obama] was upset by the trip […]and so they got rid of Restrepo”. His place has been filled by Ricardo Zuniga, a veteran of Cuban affairs.
However, Restrepo and Zuniga are not the only individuals who are in a position to advise the President on Latin American issues. Another important position, the Assistant Secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, is currently held by Roberta S. Jacobson. According to her official biography, Jacobson also worked as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Canada, Mexico and NAFTA (2007-2010) and as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Lima (1996 -2000). Other individuals who have held the highest Latin America-related position in the State Department include:
Arturo Valenzuela who served under Obama until 2011 and Roger Noriega, who served from 2003 and 2005 under the George W. Bush presidency.
Noriega served under the Bush administration, a time when the White House took a hawkish Cold War-like stance to the region, particularly regarding the emergence of regimes like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. This proved to be a good match for that administration, given its conservative ideology. Meanwhile, Valenzuela tried a more reconciliatory and less conflictive approach, a decision which drew the ire of House Foreign Affairs chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). The Republican Representative described his tenure as “marked by abject failure by the U.S. to stand up to the attacks against democracy and fundamental freedoms…. U.S. interests have suffered as a result.” An analysis in Foreign Policy, also critiqued Valenzuela, arguing that:
By the end of his two years at State, Valenzuela was somewhat sidelined in the policy process, as regional ambassadors bypassed him to work directly with the office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Deputy Secretary Jim Steinberg, or […] Dan Restrepo.
U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America is heavily influenced by personnel in high level positions such as the Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere at the NSC and the Assistant Secretary at State. It is too early to tell what kind of policy suggestions Zuniga and Jacobson will put forward, and what their professional relationship will be like. Nevertheless, it’s clear that formulating a comprehensive regional policy (or failing to create one) is easily affected by issues like institutional apathy, personal ineffectiveness and personal relationships, just as much as it is affected by the suggestions brought forward by the senior staff and the overall ideology of the executive branch.

U.S.-Latin American policies under president Obama

Like the rest of the world, Latin America had major expectations when President Obama was elected in 2008, as the Bush administration was essentially regarded as a lost decade, due to the lack of constructive regional policies. Obama went so far as to promise that he would close the detention center in the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, a source of protests by the Cuban and other regional governments as well as several U.S. organizations. Unfortunately, he has yet to do so. Even when it seemed the president was trying to improve relations with Latin America, an extra-Hemispheric affair incident would occur that switched his attention. For example, while he was in Brazil during a brief regional tour in March of 2011, Obama delivered a speech authorizing a “limited military action” of U.S. troops against Libya due to the expanding internal war in that North African state.
However, there have been some positive, progressive initiatives by the Obama administration over the past years. He managed to relax some of the strict sanctions against Cuba, namely regarding travel issues and remittances sent from the U.S. Also, he met in an amicable meeting with Chavez during the 2009 Summit of the Americas held in Trinidad and Tobago. This was regarded as an optimistic sign considering how critical Chavez had been of the Bush Administration.
Nevertheless, a major factor that hindered Obama’s grand plans for improving Washington-Latin America relations, if there were ever any, were political developments that constantly shifted the White House’s attention. While in power, Obama has had to deal with pulling the country’s military from two unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while also trying to fix the U.S. economy. As the presidential election has approached, Obama has had to refocus his attention on a limited number of foreign policy issues, particularly after the heavy blow the President and the Democrats suffered in the 201o Midterm elections.

Four more years?

With the U.S. presidential elections less than three months away, it is unlikely that we will see any major foreign policy initiatives from the White House. Both President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney are on “campaign promise” mode, and they are actively courting Latino voters. Issues like Cuban relations, immigration policies such as the DREAM Act, and the war on drugs will be brought up during speeches and debates, but these are just pieces of a larger puzzle. It seems clear that besides a handful of issues and selected countries, such as Brazil, Cuba and Mexico, the Obama administration lacks a grand strategy for Latin America as a whole, like FDR’s Good Neighbor Policy.
When Latin America asks itself if it has been forgotten by the White House throughout the past decade, the answer is arguably yes. Just as President George W. Bush’s administration did, President Obama’s first term in office has shown Latin America to be only, at best, of second tier importance.
But what must be kept in mind is that foreign, just like domestic, policies are often brought forward by the President’s advisors who have in-depth knowledge of specific regions and issues. In the case of Latin America, we have witnessed over the past years the appearance of individuals such as Dan Restrepo, Ricardo Zuniga and Roger Noriega. These individuals have shaped White House policy toward the region, with a mixed bag of successes and failures depending on the issue and one’s point of view. Hopefully the next presidential term (whether under Obama or Romney) will bring some new progressive initiatives, though this seems unlikely; particularly if the president’s advisors aren’t influential Latin Americanists who push for the region to have a bigger role in the White House’s foreign policy agenda.
Read more: http://www.voxxi.com/dan-restrepo-white-house-latin-america/#ixzz24lKKstp8