Obama on Latin America

As Election Day draws near, presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama repeatedly have focused their attention on such key foreign policy issues as the Iraq War and the global financial crisis. U.S. policy toward Latin America, on the other hand, has been notoriously absent from figuring in recent presidential debates or stump speeches, as both candidates seek to win over last-minute voters by reiterating their campaign platforms on domestic and foreign policy topics of high public concern.

An exception to this was Obama’s brief reference to the Colombian government’s seeming indifference to the killing of labor leaders in that country with impunity, mentioned in the last presidential debate.

Nonetheless, Barack Obama has developed his policy agenda on U.S.-Latin American relations throughout the course of his presidential campaign. Beginning with an appearance at the Cuban-American National Foundation in May 2008, he set forth the proposal that the U.S. should foster a new era of hemispheric relations based upon mutual understanding and respect for national sovereignty. Similarly, the Senate voting record of vice presidential candidate Joe Biden reveals his position on regional matters, which over the years has seldom strayed from a standard approach to regional issues.

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This analysis was prepared by COHA Director Larry Birns

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