Obama goes “the South American way”

Posted on January 29, 2011


As Barack Obama is adjusting details for his first trip to Latin America (South of Mexico) in March, questions raise about the scales scheduled and the motifs behind. First questions deal with the jump from Brazil to Chile , ignoring Argentina –which lies in between. Diplomatic explanations don’t keep at bay the local opposition from sizing the chance to blame the Cristina Fernandez’s government for its “isolation from the world”.  Others wonder why surpassing Colombia, longtime closest USA’s ally of its war on drugs and “narco-guerrilla”.

Speaking of guerrillas, comments focus on Obama’s meeting with Dilma Rousseff, former guerrilla and new elected president of Brazil, the rising eight world economy. Officially, the agenda of issues to be discussed isn’t impressive. They talk of narrowing the diplomatic gap between past and present approaches to near (Honduras) and far (Iran, Palestine) subjects. They also mention the so-called cooperation in renewable fuels (in fact USA’s ill-conceived tax protection of corn ethanol against more efficient Brazilian sugar cane ethanol). Nothing said of huge Brazilian oil off shore discoveries and Chilean lithium deposits (together with Bolivia’s and Argentina’s count for 80% of world known -let aside Afganistan’s and forget about to left it go by itself).

But a more immediate and silenced issue to discuss in a time of economic hardships is the diminished role of the USA as arms supplier to Latin American countries, behind Russia and France. But  this issue isn’t one nice to tell to the press, right?