Our Next Prez on Latin America

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As we go crazy anticipating who our next president will be, questioning if we’ll make history with Obama or have to move out of the country if  McCain is elected, our anxiety grows with the answer only two weeks away.

But before we go completely nuts, let’s take a moment to look into something both candidates have yet to address: Latin American relations. With issues like health care, the economy, and the war in Iraq at the forefront of this election, our relationship with Latin America is on the back burner.

Rebuilding our foreign policy reputation and establishing our role in Latin America is crucial, however, especially  with fundamental shifts in politics taking place in Venezuela and Bolivia. Is it because these regions are adopting more socialist policies that the U.S. is giving them the silent treatment? And where do the candidates stand on their policies?

McCain is in line with the majority of President Bush’s policies (surprise, surprise)–strong anti-narcotics efforts, free trade, and reducing illegal immigration. Obama, on the other hand, believes in diplomacy–meeting with foreign leftist leaders and sending Peace Corps volunteers overseas.

McCain has visited Latin American several times, while Obama has not, but who can we trust? Whose policies can you learn to live with and hope will actually be put into action within the next four years? With so many issues at stake–immigration, NAFTA, changing political paradigms, drug trade—it’s crucial to consider the actions our future leader will take.

Here’s how one blogger in Bolivia responded to McCain’s speech in Miami about economics:

And how does Mr. McCain intend “to prevent Venezuela and Bolivia from taking the same road to failure Castro has paved for Cuba?” This is really a stupid thing to say; it will only feed into the paranoia of those in Bolivia who believe that the US is out to get Morales. It is just appalling how little American politicians understand Latin America.

Yes, I know that he was talking to gusanos, but all the same.