Monday, July 06, 2009

Obama and Latin America

I didn't catch this until today. But Tom Hayden reported on July 2 at TPM Cafe on The Possibility of an Obama-Chavez Understanding. Referring to the April Trinidad conference, he writes:

What has not been reported is that Obama, leaving his advisers behind, held lengthy private conversations with Chavez where only an interpreter was present.

It is not known what occurred in the secret talks. But sources in Caracas say that Chavez has become fascinated with Obama, seeking to understand the new US president and the forces around him, partly with advice from Brazil's president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
I definitely have my criticisms of Obama, particularly on the Afghanistan War and prosecuting the torture perpetrators. But there is no question that his foreign policy has already shown some major improvement over the Cheney-Bush rolling disaster. Just returning to a situation where diplomacy is considered to be something more than the use of military threats to get other countries to do what the US wants is a huge improvement.

Obama's administration does seem to be taking a straightforward anti-coup, pro-democracy stance on the Honduran crisis. Latin America under democratic regimes is getting more and more serious about protecting democracy and maintaining international peace in their region. We saw that in the general Latin American reactions to Colombia's military strike on Ecuadorian territory and to the separatist violence in Bolivia. It makes very good sense for the US to align ourselves with those basic goals and not allow American government agencies or businesses to mess around with promoting coups or separatist movements or wars in Latin America.

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