Friday, November 9, 2012

What Obama's second term could mean for Latin America

The following is a compilation of articles and analysis from think-tanks and news outlets examining how President Obama's re-election could impact U.S.-Latin American relations going forward.

"Obama's Election and the Caribbean: What Does it Mean?" by Kevin Edmonds for the North American Congress on Latin America (Nacla) looks at Obama's involvement in the Caribbean during his first term and notes that there is a "cautious optimism" throughout the region, with most leaders calling for more engagement. It highlights the president's more "hands-off" approach, saying this position "comes with both new problems and possibilities for change through new alliances and spaces for policy development in the Caribbean."

"Analysis: Obama faces Latin America revolt over drugs, trade" by Brian Winter for Reuters considers how relations between the U.S. and Latin America will change in the wake of Obama's re-election, noting the potential for governments in the region to become more independent, as "even close allies are increasingly emboldened to act without worrying about what 'Tio Sam' will say or do."

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars' Mexico Institute provides analysis on the implications of the 2012 U.S. Presidential Elections for Mexico. They look at trade, immigration and Obama's relationship with Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto.

The Inter-American Dialogue's U.S. election page houses several articles in English and Spanish from its analysts, including a good piece from organization president Michael Shifter in Foreign Policy magazine and a collection of opinions on what Obama's second term will mean for Latin America from several analysts, including Rubens Barbosa, former ambassador of Brazil to the United States.

"Top 10 Policy Drivers for U.S.-Latin American Relations in 2013," by Eric Farnsworth of the Americas Society/Council of the Americas reviews the top ten policy drivers for U.S.-Latin American relations in 2013. They all start with the letter "C" and include the Castros, Chavez and China.

"Congressional Update: How the Election Results Impact U.S.-Latin America Policy" by Kezia McKeague, also of the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, looks at how the picks for U.S. Congress in the most recent elections will affect the House and the Senate's stance towards the region.

"Will Latin America become a higher priority during second Obama term?" by Mimi Whitefield and Tim Johnson explores if Latin America will become a higher priority during Obama's second term, examining how much issues like immigration, the rise of the latino vote, trade, security and political changes within the region could attract more attention to the region during Obama's presidency.

"The Writing is on the Wall: The Cuban-American Vote and the Future of U.S. Policy toward Cuba" by Geoff Thale notes a change in Florida's Cuban-American community's position on U.S. policy towards the island, after they came out to vote for Obama in record numbers on Tuesday.

On the Havana Note blog, the director of the U.S.-Cuba Policy Initiative for the New America Foundation, Anya Landau French, writes about the historic Cuban-American outpouring of support for Obama, saying it marks a shift in U.S. politics, commenting "engaging Cuba is no longer the political liability it once was."

"Obama won. What does his victory mean for the United States and Mexico?" from Mexican news website Animal Politico collects opinions from 14 different analysts, professors and politicians about what an Obama second term means for relations between Mexico and the United States.

"Mexico says marijuana legalization in U.S. could change anti-drug strategies" by William Booth for the Washington post looks at how Mexico's incoming government will responded to the approval of marijuana ballot measures in Colorado and Washington. A top aide for Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, who will take office in December, said it "changed the rules of the game," and that Peña Nieto and his advisors will have to reformulate their anti-drug strategy.

"Obama continues" is an editorial in Colombia's El Tiempo that highlights the importance of Obama's return, saying it signals to both the Colombian government and the FARC that the United States will continue to back the peace talks, set to start in Havana on November 15.

Overall, Obama's victory over Romney is seen as a positive development for the region, but it has been met with cautious optimism. For the most part, there are few expected changes, although many hope that Obama will turn his focus south and address several issues, from the Mexican drug war, to Cuba, to Colombia, that involve the United States and are pressing in the region.

Also, in case you missed it, yesterday's Just the Facts blog reviews Latin American leaders reactions to Obama's victory Tuesday night and what it could mean for the region as a whole over the next four years.