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US Foreign Policy and the Latin American Left

Economics is an essential part of foreign policy. One cannot think of the Cold War without the Marshall Plan that allowed reconstruction in Western Europe and containment of the Soviet Union in Western Europe. In Latin America one cannot dissociate the Cuban Revolution and the subsequent Alliance for Progress, which basically provided credit for allies in the region, pushed by Kennedy to contain Communism in the region. Geopolitics is, however, often ignored by economists, and political scientists tend to use only mainstream economics when discussing political economy issues.

In the case of US-Latin American affairs, the inability to understand the political elements of the economic process, and the incapacity to comprehend the deep causes of underdevelopment in the region explain, in part, the problematic relationship of the Obama administration with the left of center governments in the region. The Obama administration has compounded old mistakes and aggravated the mistrust from progressives in Latin America (for an early discussion of the topic go here; subscription required). John Kerry, the Secretary of the State, has referred recently to Latin America as the American “backyard,” and the Obama administration has not recognized the democratically elected government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela.

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Comments

  1. Why the US insists on taking a position on foreign internal politics is beyond me. It seems perfectly legitimate to question corruption and actual abuse, but the US hasn't a leg to stand on when it comes to consistency in these matters anyway. One can't expect all governments to be as clueless as the Chinese who keep accepting dollars that they don't need in exchange for real goods that are benefit to Americans, so the US should simply make the best trade deals it can and get out of the way of the issues of distribution of wealth in foreign countries.

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