Americas Summit: U.S. Government Losing Regional Influence

By:  Alex Newman
04/19/2012
       
Americas Summit: U.S. Government Losing Regional Influence

 As the Summit of the Americas this week in Colombia was drawing to a close, President Obama touted more regional integration even as increasingly hostile Latin American leaders openly called for change in U.S. and regional policies. Analysts and officials throughout the hemisphere and across the political spectrum said the whole gathering reflected the U.S. government’s growing isolation and waning influence in the region.

 As the Summit of the Americas this week in Colombia was drawing to a close, President Obama touted more regional integration even as increasingly hostile Latin American leaders openly called for change in U.S. and regional policies. Analysts and officials throughout the hemisphere and across the political spectrum said the whole gathering reflected the U.S. government’s growing isolation and waning influence in the region.

 

On everything from Cuba to the drug war and the Falkland Islands controversy, Obama found himself under fire from supposed American allies, many of whom have been showered with U.S. tax dollars over the years. A growing chorus of Latin American heavyweights — from the right-leaning Presidents of Guatemala and Colombia to an assortment of socialist strongmen — openly rebelled. No final “declaration” was even signed after the gathering.

Canada and the United States, for example, rejected calls by the rest of the governments to invite the communist dictatorship ruling over Cuba to the next Americas Summit. And the brutal Cuban regime, seizing on the propaganda opportunity, praised what it called the anti-Washington “rebellion” while ridiculing and mocking the Obama administration.

“President Obama should realize that the Cartagena summit was not propitious for advising democracy in Cuba,” noted a statement by the communist regime published in one of its top propaganda organs. “We Cubans will take care of Cuba.” The Castro dictatorship also said Obama was forced to use the “imperial veto” to block a statement condemning the decades-old U.S. trade embargo on the island, which the regime exploits to rally its captive populace and to deflect attention from the fruits of its own disastrous policies.

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