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Report Calls for Fresh Approach to
By Mark Landler
The New York Times
November 24, 2008
WASHINGTON - With the election of Barack Obama, the United States has a fresh chance to reinvigorate its relations with Latin America, according to a new report that recommends Washington overhaul its drug policies at home and pursue a rapprochement with Cuba.
The report, compiled by prominent former policy-makers from the
Among the most striking recommendations is a near-total reversal in policy toward
'This may make the over-40 generation of Cuban- Americans in
Mr. Pickering, who once served as American ambassador to El Salvador, is co-chairman of a commission that produced the report, along with the former president of
Younger Cuban-Americans, Mr. Pickering said, are less interested in isolating the Castro government than in bettering the conditions of their families still living in
The report sets out several other specific and general measures, including Congressional approval of free trade agreements with
'We've been reluctant to acknowledge this in the
Efforts to eradicate drug production in
The number of heroin and cocaine addicts in the United States, the report says, has not changed much since the mid-1980s, a fact that the report attributes to a failure to reduce production and to an ineffectiveness among American drug prevention and treatment programs.
Mr. Zedillo said in a telephone interview that drug trafficking, fueled by such a huge and hungry market, had spread throughout Latin America and should no longer be thought of as a Colombian, Mexican or Bolivian problem.
The report was equally blunt about trade policy, saying that Congress needed to pass the
The election of Mr. Obama sends mixed signals on the
'How a President Obama, working with a Democratic Congress, reconciles those goals and principles is going to be tricky,' said Strobe Talbott, the Brookings Institution president.
Protectionist sentiment is likely to intensify because of the economic crisis, Mr. Talbott said. The crisis has already hit Brazil and Mexico hard, though Mr. Zedillo noted that they were better equipped to bounce back than during previous upheavals because of sounder economic policies.
Mr. Obama's election, experts said, could change the tenor of relations with President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, whose periodic anti-American outbursts have poisoned ties with a once-reliable ally.
'Hugo Chavez is conscious of the fact that Barack Obama is on his side of the fence, representing the downtrodden side of American society,' Mr. Pickering said. 'Does he really want to take on Obama?'
The report does not criticize the Bush administration, though it says that relations with
As it happens, President Bush made his last scheduled foreign trip over the weekend to
China has established a foothold in several countries in Latin America as a trading partner and investor, according to the report, which predicted
Thomas A. Shannon Jr., the assistant secretary of state responsible for Latin America, said the report was constructive, though its call for closer ties with Cuba did not confront the fact that this would depend on the Cuban government's moving toward democracy, something it has not done.
Mr. Shannon also disputed the contention that the United States had neglected Latin America, pointing out that Mr. Bush's trip to
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs