Why the U.S. can't afford to ignore Latin America
President Obama speaks with Guatemala President Otto Perez, right, and Chile President Sebastian Pinera, left, in April.
June 13th, 2012
11:47 AM ET

Why the U.S. can't afford to ignore Latin America

Editor's note: Christopher Sabatini is the editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly and senior director of policy at Americas Society/Council of the Americas. Ryan Berger is a policy associate at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. The views in this article are solely those of Christopher Sabatini and Ryan Berger.

By Christopher Sabatini and Ryan Berger, Special to CNN

Speaking in Santiago, Chile, in March of last year, President Obama called Latin America “a region on the move,” one that is “more important to the prosperity and security of the United States than ever before.”

Somebody forgot to tell the Washington brain trust.

The Center for a New American Security, a respected national security think tank a half-mile from the White House, recently released a new series of policy recommendations for the next presidential administration. The 70-page “grand strategy” report only contained a short paragraph on Brazil and made only one passing reference to Latin America.

Yes, we get it. The relative calm south of the United States seems to pale in comparison to other developments in the world: China on a seemingly inevitable path to becoming a global economic powerhouse, the potential of political change in the Middle East, the feared dismemberment of the eurozone, and rogue states like Iran and North Korea flaunting international norms and regional stability.

But the need to shore up our allies and recognize legitimate threats south of the Rio Grande goes to the heart of the U.S.’ changing role in the world and its strategic interests within it.

Here are three reasons why the U.S. must include Latin America in its strategic calculations:

1. Today, pursuing a global foreign policy requires regional allies.

Recently, countries with emerging economies have appeared to be taking positions diametrically opposed to the U.S. when it comes to matters of global governance and human rights. Take, for example, Russia and China’s stance on Syria, rejecting calls for intervention.

Another one of the BRICS, Brazil, tried to stave off the tightening of U.N. sanctions on Iran two years ago. And last year, Brazil also voiced its official opposition to intervention in Libya, leading political scientist Randall Schweller to refer to Brazil as “a rising spoiler.”

At a time of (perceived) declining U.S. influence, it’s important that America deepens its ties with regional allies that might have been once taken for granted. As emerging nations such as Brazil clamor for permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council and more representatives in the higher reaches of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. will need to integrate them into global decision-making rather than isolate them.

If not, they could be a thorn in the side of the U.S. as it tries to implement its foreign policy agenda. Worse, they could threaten to undermine efforts to defend international norms and human rights.

2. Latin America is becoming more international.

It’s time to understand that the U.S. isn’t the only country that has clout in Latin America.

For far too long, U.S. officials and Latin America experts have tended to treat the region as separate, politically and strategically, from the rest of the world. But as they’ve fought battles over small countries such as Cuba and Honduras and narrow bore issues such as the U.S.-Colombia free-trade agreement, other countries like China and India have increased their economic presence and political influence in the region.

It’s also clear that countries such as Brazil and Venezuela present their own challenges to U.S. influence in the region and even on the world forum.

The U.S. must embed its Latin America relations in the conceptual framework and strategy that it has for the rest of the world, rather than just focus on human rights and development as it often does toward southern neighbors such as Cuba.

3. There are security and strategic risks in the region.

Hugo Chavez’s systematic deconstruction of the Venezuelan state and alleged ties between FARC rebels and some of Chavez’s senior officials have created a volatile cocktail that could explode south of the U.S. border.

FARC, a left-wing guerrilla group based in Colombia, has been designated as a “significant foreign narcotics trafficker” by the U.S. government.

At the same time, gangs, narcotics traffickers and transnational criminal syndicates are overrunning Central America.

In 2006, Mexican President Felipe Calderón launched a controversial “war on drugs” that has since resulted in the loss of over 50,000 lives and increased the levels of violence and corruption south of the Mexican border in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and even once-peaceful Costa Rica. Increasingly, these already-weak states are finding themselves overwhelmed by the corruption and violence that has come with the use of their territory as a transit point for drugs heading north.

Given their proximity and close historical and political connections with Washington, the U.S. will find it increasingly difficult not to be drawn in. Only this case, it won’t be with or against governments — as it was in the 1980s — but in the far more complex, sticky situation of failed states.

There are many other reasons why Latin America is important to U.S. interests.

It is a market for more than 20% of U.S. exports. With the notable exception of Cuba, it is nearly entirely governed by democratically elected governments — a point that gets repeated ad nauseum at every possible regional meeting. The Western Hemisphere is a major source of energy that has the highest potential to seriously reduce dependence on Middle East supply. And through immigration, Latin America has close personal and cultural ties to the United States. These have been boilerplate talking points since the early 1990s.

But the demands of the globe today are different, and they warrant a renewed engagement with Latin America — a strategic pivot point for initiatives the U.S. wants to accomplish elsewhere.  We need to stop thinking of Latin America as the U.S. “backyard” that is outside broader, global strategic concerns.

The views in this article are solely those of Christopher Sabatini and Ryan Berger.


soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. OnTheRoad

    The U.S. can't afford to ignore it's middle class either, but our current politicans seem to be doing a very good job of it!

    June 13, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
    • James

      We've been given the message that we are irrelevant.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Reply
      • Max Brooks from Florida

        Many of the countries south of our border are interested in legalizing drugs in order to put an end to the brutal violence and murder that prohibition creates. I'm guessing that once a few of these countries get the ball rolling, the US will follow suit within two years max. (Tail between legs of course)

        June 16, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Marine5484

      Well said, OnTheRoad. The politicians in Washington can and do ignore the middle class here but they wasted very little time in planning and carrying out the tragic overthrow in Chile of Pres. Salvador Allende back on Sept.11,1973 and replacing with that horrific Pinochet and that was just for openers!

      June 13, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
      • Dr Dr..

        And not to mention he was DEMOCRATICALY ELECTED, what about your posture that you defend democrasy...and want to promote democrasy world wide.. is like the mother telling her daughter "don't you ever smoke" and then taking a draggg..

        June 14, 2012 at 5:53 am |
      • latuya

        Hey numb nuts South America is mostly democratic today because of the US, while I'll admit Pinoche was brutal, he was better than Allende and his communist thugs. Thanks to our intervention South America isn't communist today.

        June 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
      • Quigley

        Now yours is one of the most idiotic comments I've seen here yet, latuya. You sound like some weak minded Tea Partier. Are you one of them by any chance?

        June 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Hypocrisy Hunter

      The very first comment on an article, and you are unable to stay on topic. Road, you deserve to be ignored. Not the middle class, you.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:33 am | Reply
    • timelord7202

      Road: We have the best government money can buy, surely?

      June 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Reply
    • Cindy

      Seriously, I never understood why the U S would not have a great interest in Latin America and why it is ignored in many different ways, if I were in power, I totally would be best friends with Latin America, there is so much the U S could benefit. Years ago I came to the conclusion that Hugo Chavez is a big influence to Latin America and other countries who hate the U S, the U S should not ignore Hugo Chavez, though he talks a lot and probably does not dirty his own hands, he has power and money and the U S should not ignore or under mind him.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Reply
    • g

      why should they? everyone knows the american middle class wont stand up for itself, when was the last time they even had a protest and did anyone even show up or were they too busy watching tv?

      June 15, 2012 at 10:47 am | Reply
    • Apophis

      FORGET US, PLEEEASEEE!!!

      June 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  2. Peikovianyi

    The US can't ignore Latin America because they're all here.

    June 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Reply
    • Alicia

      LOL, sad but true.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Reply
    • Jean Malloy

      Amen1!!!

      June 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
    • Are you trying to be funny?

      just asking

      June 13, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
    • the law

      C

      June 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Reply
    • Rick

      The number of Latinos in the US are nothing close to the total sum of Latinos in Mexico, Central, and South America. Immigration of people from Latin America to the US is the US's own doing. Sending American Economic Specialist to Latin American nations to manipulate their economy has repercussions. Their task is to keep Latin America's economy, military, and politics in control and of no threat to US security, but it comes at price: Latinos immigrating north for jobs. Do some research son. You have no clue whats going on down there.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:57 am | Reply
      • Dr Dr..

        Not to mention BRIC, and other economies that are prospering, and now are exporting not just products but Capital invesment to other countries, the Honk Kong of South America (Chiile) is awaikening

        June 14, 2012 at 5:56 am |
      • timelord7202

        Dr Dr –

        given how much subsidy US taxpayers shelled out to (supposedly) improve other countries' economies in the first place, let's see how the future unfolds. I mean,

        http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/04/13/general-motors-ceo-urged-to-address-indian-workers-complaints/

        http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57449467-92/foxconn-worker-riot-leads-to-arrests-damage-in-chengdu/

        June 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Chris Honry

      OUR GOVT SHOULD BE telling the Americas: "take care of YOUR OWN PEOPLE and stop using us as your social welfare system". After they do that, then we can talk. Until they take care of their own we can't take them seriously at all.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Reply
      • lancer5150

        No kidding and good call. Before doing business with this host of 2nd/3rd world countries (call a spade a spade, no matter how much Latinos want you to think these countries are "moving up") the U.S. should be compensated for draw of their citizens on the U.S. taxpayer.

        The U.S. is already at a negative R.O.I. when dealing with these countries. And I’m not even mentioning the aid we provide them.

        June 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
      • fritz

        Not to worry! Our government will be down in Central America nation building before you know it. Of course it will undermine the middle class and cause a massive upsurge in poverty rates here in America and forcing us closer to the fiscal cliff. But what the hell, we gotta make Central America whole again, huh?

        July 14, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • kls817

      yes, but if we can manage to help strengthen latin america, we can 1) produce a market for the goods we produce and 2) stem the flow of illegal immigration.
      The US should definitely consider cost-effective ways to help the economies of our southern neighbors.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Reply
      • seigell

        We've already shipped the majority of our Manufacturing Jobs to the South !! European Car Labels often have more Made-in-USA content than GM / Ford / Dodge, once you disallow content made or assembled in Mexico.

        June 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
      • MANUEL POLANCO

        THE PROBLEM TO STOP DRUG ABUSE IS DUE TO IGNORANT OF THE PEOPLE, IF THE GOVERMENT DO NOT PROVIDES EDUCATION TO HIS OWN PEOPLE, THE DRUG'S PROBLEM NEVER IT IS GOING TO STOP.

        July 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Raymond

      have you ever being out of the US . ? your comment sound Dam

      June 15, 2012 at 11:35 am | Reply
  3. qq

    I would pay much more attention to Latin America and much less to the Middle East as Latin America is closer and much more reasonable than the Middle East.

    June 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
    • Ana

      Agree 100%!

      June 14, 2012 at 12:42 am | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        It costs the U.S. less to regain its standing in Latin America than to set its foot in troubled waters.

        June 14, 2012 at 4:33 am |
  4. When the Cows Come Home

    NEW YORK: Renowned Indian activist and novelist Arundhati Roy has decried the silence of the international community over the continued “brutal Indian occupation of Kashmir” and said Kashmiris should be given the right to self-determination.
    “Kashmir is one of the most protracted and bloody occupations in the world — and one of the most ignored,” she told a large audience at the Asia Society during a discussion on “Kashmir — a case for freedom”.
    Under the Indian military rule in Kashmir, Ms Roy said, freedom of speech was non-existent and human rights abuses were routine. Elections were rigged and the press controlled.
    She said the lives of Kashmiris were made miserable by gun-totting security personnel who harassed and terrorised people with impunity, adding that disappearances were almost a daily occurrence as also kidnapping, arrests, fake encounters and torture. Mass graves have been discovered and the conscience of the world remains unstirred……
    The apathy towards Kashmir, especially in the western world, Ms Roy said, was because of their pursuit of commercial interests in India where they were more eager to “sell their goods than human rights”……..

    June 13, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Reply
    • Oscar Pitchfork

      No one cares anything about India. They steal our jobs cause they'll work for pennies a day. They worship rats, among other things, for pity's sake! Any Indian with half a brain that gets educated, generally leaves to be someplace else! Where it's not hot, smelly, and poor. Some avant-garde types like to vacation there, but only on the high-dollar coasts where hot Indian chicks do all the servant stuff...

      June 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
      • get your learn on, Oscar

        Wow, Oscar, that was really ignorant. India is on the way to becoming a global superpower. Weak-minded, illiterate people like you are distracted by images of the poor while the rich, powerful and highly educated in India turned parts of the country into First World hot spots of creativity, wealth and innovation. The problem with India, which results in staggering disparity between haves and have-nots, is corruption. If the entire Indian population could get its collective head out of its graft, India would BE the dominant superpower. Lucky for the U.S., graft and general corruption is ingrained in Indian DNA and may never be eradicated.

        June 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
      • ramki

        Friend
        You have no clue about what is India.Just blowing cruel garbage and CNN is blindly putting it up. Regards

        June 13, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
      • outawork

        They work for half the pay and do the work half as well. You get what you pay for.

        June 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
      • timelord7202

        To June:

        Excuse me, but when US taxpayers are subsidizing corporations, not only is that bypassing the very law of "free market economics" (including 'supply and demand' thanks to extorting illegals and engaging fraud with the H1B program to devalue labor), it does indeed – indirectly or tangentially – mean "our jobs".

        But even if not, our subsidy helped build other countries' economies with companies getting bailed out as Americans lost jobs and opportunities.

        There is more than one side here. I'll fathom yours, if you start to fathom others'.

        June 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
      • fritz

        Rats? And all this time I thought they worship cows.

        July 14, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
      • Jaya

        That was really gay. No offense. Because Indians are way smarter than you. And Asians basically run the USA. Yeah, India is working for lower pay, but is that their fault that they actually do the work? Why would the jobs be going there? Most Americans just go into debt, and spend all their money and don't watch after their kids as much as indians. Most Americans do not care about their child's education. We worship rats? No we don't. Wow, no offense but you have no respect for other religions. Ignorance.

        July 16, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • A Soldier

      You act like corruption only goes on in India. Pathetic excuse. The US is full of corruption as well.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Reply
      • medallon

        Yes Soldier, you are right, but its a matter of degrees and a free press to root it out. There is corruption in the USA, but its not as endemic and to a large scale as other countries.

        June 14, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • PanzerJager

      Yeah India sucks man, so does China but the US corporations are to blame on that one. America is where we should be focusing.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
      • Ray

        And why does India suck? India is already on the way to being a global superpower, and America will be left behind in the dust. Just because they are of different skin color, doesn't mean you shouldn't respect them. I am sure even the people in high school there are smarter than you.

        July 16, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • krm1007 ©™

      TOUGH TIMES IN INDIA: FOREIGN FIRMS PACKING AND RUNNING FOR EXITS

      “NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: Frustrated by a lack of opportunities in India, Germany's Fraport (FRAG.DE), the world's No. 2 airport operator, is shutting its development office in the country, the latest in a growing list of companies exiting Asia's third-largest economy.

      The list of companies to leave India includes telecoms carriers Etisalat ETEL.AD of Abu Dhabi and Bahrain Telecommunications Co BTEL.BH. Another firm, Norway's state-backed Telenor (TEL.OLhas threatened to pull out…..
      India definitely faces the threat of more foreign companies signaling an exit in the near future, as well as warding off new entrants. …
      According to a Nomura report last month, multinationals pulled $10.7 billion out of the country in 2011, up from $7.2 billion in 2010 and $3.1 billion in 2009.

      "Augere, which owns 4G broadband airwaves in one of India's 22 telecoms zones, has stopped operational activities and is set to sell its airwaves due to regulatory uncertainties, the Economic Times reported last month.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Reply
      • oodoodanoo

        Pakistan: The gateway to Central Asia and acid in your face.

        June 14, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
      • Razzle Dazzle

        Right on. I am hearing some horror stories from returning expatriates from India whose companies have closed the shutters there. Unpaid salaries, unfulfilled promises, business that was never there, corruption galore.

        June 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • oodoodanoo

      Sorry, Paki. Was distracted by the burning fuse in your shorts.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Reply
      • Razzle Dazzle

        No problema. Just don't do it again. We will let you have a peek in there. Enjoy !!

        June 16, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Person of Interest

      Besides the idiotic comments from Oscar Pitchfork, which I will ignore for you can't make comments that stupid look anymore than what they already are.

      When the cows come home:
      I'm failing to understand the purpose of your post since you gave no context. Are you saying we should intervene in Kashmir? My response: Are you out of your f*#%ing mind? India, Pakistan, China: Name the thing they have in common? Large standing military, distrust of west, hatred for eachother and wait for it.....Nukes. If that doesn't become a hot war we (the US) should leave that one be. When it becomes more than a guerrilla war, that place will be a nuclear wasteland and millions will be dead (perhaps in the tens of millions).

      They've all been arguing over that land for decades and some words to live by: If your neighbor doesn't like you, you don't take a p!$$ in his backyard. Let alone a place he considers his kitchen table.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Reply
      • Razzle Dazzle

        "Oscar Pitchfork" is right on.
        "When the Cows Come Home" is pointing to a moral dilemma that some countries who purport to be riding the hig horse of civility have been ignoring...and they are a few miles away these days from the epicentre of genocide in India. !!!! Hope this provides some clarity to you. Thank you for asking these questions. Nuclear war is inevitable in that area. You don't have to be an Ivy League grad to figure that one out.

        June 16, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  5. JM

    The Chinese are eating our lunch down in Latin America. They already operate the Panama canal and have projects to build another canal. They are funding oil exploration and drilling projects too such as big hydroelectric power plants. They have virtually displaced American companies who used to sell technology there. In Latin America, they have all kinds of resources like oil, copper, coal, uranium, rich fisheries, bio-diverse rainforests, etc. One of these days, we may be the ones illegally crossing into Mexico, Brazil, and other Latin American countries, to find work. This will be a very realistic scenario if our faith-backed dollar crashes.

    June 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Reply
    • Jennie

      Excellent point. The amount of natural resources in Latin America is completely astounding. As someone who has lived in Mexico and Brazil I have always been amazed at the level in misinformation and ignorance people have about Latin American countries and I've never understood why the U.S. doesn't do more to nurture it's ties with these countries.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Reply
      • timelord7202

        Overall, I agree.

        Still, companies like Hershey and Ford have opened up manufacturing plants down there, so it can't be as dire as you suggest...

        June 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
      • Person of Interest

        timelord7202
        You hear about the Coke plant they had in India about a decade ago? They were using up huge amounts of the drinking water in the area to make Coke and...??? You guessed it water. Waterbeds were drying up and people were buying water from their own rivers and streams from Coke. Not to mention Intel's Asian Center which also uses massive amounts of water. Just cause a fortune 500 company is in you area doesn't mean you aren't getting screwed (afterall they go there for cheaper labor). Esp, in places with little regulation.

        Simply Google Coca Cola, India, and water shortage. Tons of articles will pop up.

        June 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
      • adrian gonzalez

        YOU HIT IT RIGHT ON THE MONEY!! 😉

        June 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
      • Razzle Dazzle

        Person of Interest: Thought Indians preferred Cow Pee Cola !!

        June 16, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • alkp

      China operates the Panama Canal? you write with such authority on the matter with little to no knowledge on it.

      June 13, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Reply
      • Panama Canal

        China has a contract to upgrade it

        June 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
      • Daily

        If it is true, then prove it.

        June 13, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
      • medallon

        China already has contracts to improve US infrastructure. Google it, its happening in California.

        June 14, 2012 at 11:05 am |
      • Daily

        Prove it!

        June 16, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • rory

      Hong Kong company run the show,I think it belong to Lee Kai Shing.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:04 am | Reply
  6. Jennie

    I couldn't agree more with this article. I think most people in the U.S. have skewed perception of how Latin America is because they've never been. Even though the level of poverty is greater and access to education is more limited, their cultures are every bit as sophisticated as ours and they have access to/are creating technology and innovations just like the U.S. and other developed nations. It is folly that our government doesn't see the necessity of creating and maintaining excellent relationships with Latin American countries.

    June 13, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Reply
  7. James

    The future of the U.S. is where it has been heading since the early 60s with the rich economies in Europe and the growing ones in Asia. Anti American (USA) ism is deeply rooted in Latin America. Before WWII it was the far right and elites and Nazi Germany and it's allies trying to make inroads into the region then after WWII it was The Soviet Union and Communists and Castroites. These countries are not on the move, they are drunk on high commodity prices like they were in the 1940s. Their judicial systems are dysfunctional and the gap between the have and have nots is still the worst in the world. It is small wonder so many illegal migrants risk life and limb to fell Latin America for North America and Europe.

    June 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Reply
  8. Leaving the US

    Ex Air Force officer leaving the US, south bound... It is shame what is happening in the country and will not get better because people on power are to hard headed to respect others and only focus on their bank accounts. If the US wants to deal with Latin America or the rest of the World it will only happen on equal terms. More and more countries are defending their own interests and no longer get lured by the prospects of easy $$. Democracy is in the eye of the beholder, freedom is relative and interpretative and I just don't see either freedom nor democracy as it used to be

    June 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  9. civitas

    Uh, because they are flooding across out border every day?

    June 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Reply
  10. the law

    O'man these people are pumping out kids like there is no tomorrow... keep this up and america will turn into a third would country.. I kid you not!!!

    June 13, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Reply
    • medallon

      Well, that is very prejudiced of you....

      June 14, 2012 at 11:05 am | Reply
      • Daily

        Prove him wrong!

        June 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  11. Amy

    I will retire in Argentina, beautiful country.
    Buenos Aires is a great city, is the Paris of South America.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Reply
    • manuel

      Asta la vista!
      Take all your family with you compadre.

      June 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Reply
  12. the truther

    They wouldn't need any help if they were atheists

    June 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  13. reader10

    Latin America will always be a mess.

    June 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Reply
    • lthe truth

      Im a latinamerican, thats nothing but the truth. I dont want to be seem a traitor, but thats how venezuela has been. Politicians never had their time to focus in fixing some of the issues. United states may have all this economical issues, but at least is organized

      June 13, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Reply
    • Dr Dr..

      I suggest you take a trip down there, some cities make Manhattan look like dump... Oh I was there last week and it was a dump, garbage everywhere, rude people.. Sao Rio Santiago, Buenos aires, infrastructure will surpassed the in the US any day

      June 14, 2012 at 6:02 am | Reply
      • manuel

        Double doctorate from the university of "down the road".

        June 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I completely agree. My fiancé is from Colombia. She and her family help to form my opinions with what I read in the news. They left for a reason. Just has millions of others have.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:50 am | Reply
  14. Simon

    Viva America Latina!

    June 13, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Reply
  15. HS132

    Latin America is up an Coming along with all the other regions and states that have long been oppressed by EURO and American policies. Now that they realize Asia, Latin America, and the Middle east have things they need and want....They are turning their backs on the aging Europe. One day there will be no more Euro...Lets head in the right direction. South.

    June 13, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Latin American has NOT been oppressed by anyone but themselves. Stop blaming others for your short comings.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:52 am | Reply
      • Juan Carlos

        Allende was boycotted from the moment that he was elected...Kissinger and Nixon admited..that they ordered the CIA to espend money on the oposition to overtrow Allende......He never had a Chance....big companies lock thier werehouses to provoke a false sense of lack of production. . there was large lines to buy anything that you need for domestic use...no food ,no fuel...the oposition estaged large strikes there were assesinations in Chile and in the exterior neo nazis groups wre every day on the streets.....righ wing women marched on the streets with pots and pans...Then the army took power..........I was there,. I went to prison, I was beaten and tortured..my name is in the official list of political prisoners.... The CIA and the righ wing the owners of the land and the supreme court were all against allende The only democratically electe socialist President >

        June 15, 2012 at 2:08 am |
      • Some people are blinded by propaganda

        Realize that the international monetary fund and world bank are in the US linked to banks in Europe. Money is power and the money of the world flows to these organizations. What will happen when the world says enough is enough? Will Europe financial system collapse, will the US financial system collapse. If we just look at natural resources alone Europe has almost nothing, only thing keeping them alive is the financial system which the world is hooked into, what if we wake up one day and reinvent the system? its happening

        June 19, 2012 at 3:40 am |
  16. JBarr

    Let's face it, America is in decline! We no longer have the money, will or interest it seems to pursue being the best. We have tough issues that we use to look for ways to divide ourselves over versus being diplomatic and working thru them. We no longer have intelligent public discussions on anything. We seem to have forgotten our past and the hard work that put us on top. However if we will work together and face our issues, we have a chance! We must do this for our future, our children and stretch them versus coddle them. We do this and we become friends to ourselves again. We do that and we can become visionaries and friends to the world. Central America matters. The whole world matters but we must start at home or all that matters will be gone!

    June 13, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Reply
  17. Gopherit

    Zakaria characteristically fails to mention that the U.S. agenda and strategy which he wants the south-of-the-border countries to particiapte in is the furtherance of American economic worldwide domination, along with internatonal death-dealing summary executions of anyone who dares to oppose that agenda.

    June 13, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Reply
  18. Solution

    Investing in our neighbors to the South is better then sending jobs and money to China and India, which has no direct benefit to us. We won't ever stop job leaving the U.S. but if they leave let it be to the south so to ease our illegal immigration problem. Labor and materials is just as cheap as China and India. We need to give the people of Central and South America a reason to stay in there country and only visit us on vacation.

    June 14, 2012 at 12:35 am | Reply
    • Ray

      Um Engineering and IT jobs go there. I am pretty sure those poor immigrants haven't gone to college for that. The Indians have....

      July 16, 2012 at 9:34 am | Reply
  19. jussan

    I fear the day America recognizes South America, for that day will be the end of lots of countries in South America. South America lacks humanitarian aid but trumps America in racial equality and the understanding of life. To turn such rich cultures into an America 2.0. The Mono culture America consisting of Walmart, Target, McDonald's, ect. accept diversity. America is a great country but also has great flaws. Flaws that could be improved upon if we were to learn from other regions first instead of always trying to teach first. We teach tolerance within our boarders, preach about the negative impact bulling and yet when it comes to practices outside our boarders we become quite hypocritical.

    June 14, 2012 at 1:02 am | Reply
    • Jennie

      I agree.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Reply
  20. Duck Dodgers

    the US needs to clean up here and stop worrying so much abou tother places

    June 14, 2012 at 5:29 am | Reply
  21. New Yorker

    Chavez is just channeling some profits towards the people. I guess that is what
    some call "deconstructing". Maybe we need a little "deconstructing" in the good ol USA!

    June 14, 2012 at 9:00 am | Reply
    • cafp

      New Yorker, I can see why people think Chavez is actually giving money to the poor, but that is not the truth. I am Venezuelan, living in Venezuela and since Chavez came into power poverty has increased, crime rate has more than tripled, unemployment has soared to around 40%, inflation is around 30% annually. Our GDP has decreased so much that we are importing basic things like coffee, milk and sugar (which we used to have a strong national industry) and our national debt is higher than it's been in decades.
      So, you tell me... is he really helping the poor? No, he's running a political campaign to make you believe he is.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:28 am | Reply
  22. Melissa

    There are 550 million people in Latin America, there is a big market there and economies like Brazil, Colombia and Chile are signing free trade agreements with China and other countries. US is taking for granted their influence over Latin countries, and it will be too late before they realize they have lost their allies down there, this will be a major lost both economically as well as against the drug war.

    June 14, 2012 at 9:13 am | Reply
  23. Ed

    We Latin Americans welcome the fact that the US is not interested in us. It has given us opportunity to expand economically and sell our products to other nations that will buy them, not nations that will use pitiful international squabbles to try and compete. Our governments subsidize a lot of industries. is it wrong? no because it gives us a fighting chance on the world economic markets. The US does not want to buy our bananas, because we subsidize them... no issues, China, Asia and Europe will buy them. America has given us the option to carefully select our buyers and at the same time have shot themselves in the foot by trying to control our economies. Brazil is one country that is turning to be the world's food basket producer. Not for America, but the rest of the world, consumes heavy amounts of Brazilian beef, chicken, soy, sugar etc. What good are all your weapons, your sanctions and what not, when the primary commodity of the world is turning to natural resources, food to be specific. All I can say is that thanks to America's lack of vision (standard) our countries have been able to rise above others and challenge the status quo economically across various markets. I plea for them to keep ignoring us, so that we can become stronger and more economically heavy handed so we do not have to abide by their terms and conditions every time they want us to. Those days are gone, long gone and to get back is impossible. Now we are more than happy as a people to deal with Americans at a same level stance, provided they allow us to, if not, Hell the rest of the world is waiting!!!

    June 14, 2012 at 11:01 am | Reply
    • NPhxAz

      Let the rest of the world absorb your freeloading latin throngs as well. You see I do appreciate your candor. I have always known your people to be laraza anti American in the first place.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:06 am | Reply
    • Lee Oates

      Excellent statement Ed.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:22 am | Reply
    • manuel

      Edwardo, you seem to be an exceptionally well spoken/written latino.

      June 19, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Reply
    • fritz

      Hmm, depressing for us yanks. If our government doesn't go down to you central american folks to nation build and make you live your lives the way our government wants you to, then they'll be messing around in our lives a lot more here in America. The more countries the U.S. government interferes in, the less time they will have to bug us here. The more our government bugs you folks, the more they will leave us yanks alone.

      July 14, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Reply
  24. History Bear

    The greed of corporations and the way the manipulate their puppets in Congress is the biggest problem in dealing with the rest of the world. We are an arrogant nation with blinders who refuse to see what's going on, or if we see then we believe it's benign. We are the cause of our decline- as Pogo said- we have met the enemy and he is us.

    June 14, 2012 at 11:21 am | Reply
    • Lee Oates

      Excellent statement.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:20 am | Reply
  25. G Carvalho

    Despite frequently complaining about the urban chaos and the high cost of living, North American migrants seem to be living well in Brazil, where they have found jobs in the petroleum and gas industry, as well as in finance and IT. Mr. Sabatini would probably be surprised by the large number of Sabatinis living in Brazil. I met some Brazilian members of the large Berger family living in Rio and S. Paulo. There is no reason for encouraging the US to pay more attention to L.A.. Americans are arriving there in growing numbers. And they are learning how to speak Portuguese and Spanish, which is unusual among the so-called L.A. experts.

    June 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  26. jim

    The US should of outsoured the jobs to Latin America instead of China. It would of made a much better relationship.

    June 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Reply
  27. hoss

    yet another foreign crusade for bankrupt americans, and yet another narcissist quest for international popularity. How much is central american good will worth to all of you suburban nobodies, and how much are you willing to personally pay for it?

    June 14, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Reply
    • NPhxAz

      Well hoss, actually people like them only want people like us to pay for it.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:01 am | Reply
  28. Ben

    You can't ignore Latin Americans because half of them are here...illegally...

    June 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Reply
  29. Miguel

    Facing Deportation?
    Don't have money for an attorney?
    Don't know what to do or what to expect?

    Visit http://www.immigrant-project.com for information.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Reply
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