AT: U. S. Latin American relations



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US-Latin American relations




AT: U.S.-Latin American relations




Low relations is a decision by the U.S. – the plan might make the U.S. palatable to Latin America but it doesn’t change the indifference in U.S. policy


Cárdenas 11 – former assistant administrator for Latin America at the U.S. Agency for International Development (José R., “The U.S. is MIA in Latin America” , Foreign Policy, December 29 2011, http://shadow.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/12/29/the_us_is_mia_in_latin_america) //WNM
An end-of-the-year assessment of U.S. policy towards Latin America could possibly qualify for the world's shortest blog. For a President who has clearly established that foreign policy is not something that gets him up in the morning (or appears to keep him awake at night), Latin America must rank just above Antarctica in descending areas of interest.

This uneven, sporadic focus on the region has led to only adverse consequences for U.S. interests. What effort the administration does expend seems only directed toward placating a smattering of hostile populist regimes, while ignoring the interests of our friends. Indeed, the predictable response is that we have only emboldened our enemies and despaired those in the hemisphere who share the U.S. vision of open political systems, free markets, and robust trade.



Radical populists in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia have run roughshod over democratic institutions and the best Washington can come up with is asking for the terms under which a U.S. ambassador would be allowed to return to their capitals. In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega is likely chuckling at the feeble U.S. response to his recently rigged re-election.

It also appears that the administration has lulled itself into complacency over a cancer-stricken Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, ground zero for regional instability, seemingly content to wait and see what happens after Chávez passes from the scene. But even as his circus antics continue, he is leaving behind what my colleague Roger Noriega calls a mountain of toxic waste that will take years to clean up.



Chávez's days may indeed be numbered, but his friends in Iran, Russia, China, and Cuba are certainly taking the long-term view of things. All four have been great beneficiaries of Chávez's political solidarity and oil-fueled largesse and can be counted on to want to maintain that access with or without him in power. In other words, don't count on them to support a democratic transition away from Chavismo, only a succession. Every day, the United States stands idly on the sidelines, the chances they will succeed improve.

Improving relations is impossible without reforming the entire foreign policy apparatus


Gvosdev, 12 - former editor of the National Interest, and a frequent foreign policy commentator in both the print and broadcast media. He is currently on the faculty of the U.S. Naval War College (Nikolas, “To Reset Latin America Policy, U.S. Must Think Big,” 4/20, World Politics Review, http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/11867/the-realist-prism-to-reset-latin-america-policy-u-s-must-think-big)
More generally, Obama’s Latin America policy is suffering from a lack of what George H.W. Bush famously called “the vision thing,” compounded by how the administration organizes the U.S. foreign policy apparatus. The president had an initial opening at his first Summit of the Americas in Trinidad, in 2009, to reset what had become a very problematic relationship between the United States and most of the rest of the hemisphere during the George W. Bush administration. Most regional leaders also made it clear they understood that, given the global financial crisis and the challenges of winding down America’s involvement in two Middle Eastern wars, Obama could not immediately pivot U.S. foreign policy to the region.

But as I noted two years ago, “There was insufficient follow-up to take advantage of the momentum generated by the Trinidad meeting.” Just as candidate George W. Bush’s rhetoric about the importance of Latin America understandably evaporated after Sept. 11, the Obama administration, in continuing to react to a series of crises elsewhere in the world, has also put the Western Hemisphere on the back burner.

As a result, according to Sean Goforth, America’s relations with the region appear to be adrift. “Many countries want and deserve a serious partnership with Washington. But President Obama is an unconvincing partner. . . . He has stalled on trade treaties with Latin American countries that still want preferred access to the U.S. market, and he’s made it clear that his strategic priority is a ‘pivot’ toward Asia.”

Worse still, no senior official within the administration, starting with the president himself, has articulated a clear, compelling and convincing vision for what a Western Hemispheric partnership would look like, beyond the expected bromides about peace, democracy and prosperity. What is the desired end state? There is no lack of compelling possibilities to choose from: free circulation for people, goods and capital from the Yukon to Tierra del Fuego; a greater push for regional independence, in terms of manufactured goods, services and energy; an arrangement that mimics the pre-Maastricht European Community.



Many terminal alt causes to relations


Shifter, 8 – Professor of Latin American Studies at Georgetown (Micheal, “U.S.-Latin American Relations: Recommendations for the New Administration”, Inter-American Dialogue, October 27, 2008, http://www.thedialogue.org/page.cfm?pageID=32&pubID=1625)
As if any further proof were needed, the ongoing financial crisis highlights the already diminished capacity of the United States to shape developments in the rest of the world. With its own house in disorder, the United States will struggle to get back on track as a responsible member of the international community.

Still, though the United States may be considerably chastened, it remains a superpower, whose decisions and actions have a huge global impact. When it falls to the next US administration to deal with the rapidly changing situation in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, or even Africa, it will likely reassess US interests and frame strategic choices in light of new realities.



But if the United States seriously undertakes such an effort for neighboring Latin America, it will mark the first time it has done so. For reasons of geography, history and power disparity, Latin America has typically been treated as a discrete compartment, separate from interest-based foreign relations.

Regardless of how one comes down on the issues of Cuba, immigration, drugs, and trade, the paternalistic impulse on the part of the United States has been unmistakable. Latin Americans find this tutorial attitude extremely irritating, and their objections have prompted a more collegial tone from the United States in certain cases. Unfortunately, it is still manifest in a variety of ways, from the overall diplomatic style to specific policies like drug cooperation decertification or suspending military training for countries that do not sign agreements that exempt US soldiers from prosecution under the International Criminal Court.

While domestic politics is never completely divorced from foreign policy, it has an inordinate and particularly distorting influence on Latin American policy. Hardliners and liberals alike rarely consider the effects policies and statements will have on US-Latin American relations or the ultimate impact for US interests. The decision to build a “wall” along the US-Mexico border, for example, may have been politically expedient but was deeply insulting, not only to Mexico, but to the entire region.

This ingrained reflex to dismiss Latin America as the “backyard” of the United States may have been understandable in a distant era, but today the region is wildly varied and defies lazy, superficial generalizations (e.g. “inflation is out of control” or “democracy is starting to take root”). Whether or not the United States recognizes it, the fact is that different parts of Latin America are moving in markedly different directions simultaneously.

Snowden could crush any chances at diplomacy and cooperation


Llorente, June 24, 2013 [Elizabeth, “Edward Snowden Scandal Could Create A Rift In U.S.-Latin American Relations”, http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2013/06/24/edward-snowden-could-be-political-weapon-for-ecuador-against-us/#ixzz2XMlCZFdq//cc]
What has become a nightmare for the U.S. government could be a godsend to nations, such as Ecuador, that welcome opportunities to shame the superpower, experts said.

The foreign minister of Ecuador – a country that has cracked down on government critics and journalists under President Rafael Correa -- said that the South American nation is considering granting asylum to former U.S., National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, wanted in the U.S. for revealing state secrets.

Snowden has been on the run since he revealed that the United States has collected data on the telephone calls and emails of its citizens. The United States has filed espionage charges against the 29-year-old Snowden, and is demanding his extradition.

At a press conference on Monday, Ecuador Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said his nation’s decision to give consideration to Snowden’s asylum request "has to do with freedom of expression and with the security of citizens around the world."

Patiño said weighing asylum for Snowden was more important than whatever ramifications it would face in U.S.-Ecuador relations. Ecuador has allowed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, to whom it granted political asylum, to remain at its embassy in London for months. “Ecuador puts its principles above its economic interests,” Patiño said.

Experts on U.S.-Latin America relations said Ecuador is being opportunistic in taking a shot at the U.S.

The chance to needle the United States is almost too irresistible,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a political think tank in Washington D.C.

“This is a tremendous temptation for countries like Ecuador, Cuba and Venezuela. It’s a way they can expose double standards, hypocrisy, a way to say 'the U.S. criticizes us because of clamping down on the press, but look at what the U.S. is doing.’”

Various published reports said that Snowden, who had been in Hong Kong, then traveled to Russia, was to leave for Havana on Monday. But he was not on the flight that was expected to take him to Cuba.

Reports said that he was going to go to Cuba, then Venezuela and possibly end up in Ecuador with hope of receiving asylum and being allowed to live there. Now reports say Snowden may travel to Cuba on Tuesday.

Political leaders in Cuba and Venezuela routinely have harsh words for the United States; former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who died earlier this year, bolstered his international standing among nations that are adversaries of the United States by condemning and often mocking U.S. officials.

Chavez's successor, Nicolas Maduro, has continued the anti-U.S. barbs, even going so far as to accuse the United States of being somehow involved in the death of Hugo Chavez.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro, whose brother Raul succeeded him as president after he fell ill, often assailed U.S. lawmakers and said the U.S.-Cuba embargo amounted to terrorism.



Cuba has no diplomatic relations with the United States, and Havana airport officials often do not stamp traveling documents of Americans who go there in violation of the U.S. embargo and travel restrictions.

Snowden's fate may rest with one of these countries willing to take the political risk and open their doors to him.

“He [Snowden] doesn’t have a lot of choices,” said Robert Anello, a New York attorney who handles extradition cases and white collar crimes. “He’s a political hot potato for other countries. My sense is that it wasn’t his decision to leave Hong Kong. He’s left with those countries that see something to be gained from the political points he can offer them right now.”



And although Cuba and Venezuela may allow him in temporarily, and aid in his transport, they too may not be willing to offer him refuge and deal with long-term consequences, experts said.

Officials of both nations have been in recent talks with U.S. officials about improving aspects of their relations.

Cuba and the United States have been discussing direct mail service, as well as their migration policies.

And U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, on his first trip to Latin America since taking office, met with Venezuela's foreign minister Elías José Jaua earlier this month to discuss restoring ambassador-level relations and ending more than a decade of steadily deteriorating ties.

Kerry said he was hopeful that a rapprochement could be achieved. The meeting, which came at Venezuela's request, took place just hours after Venezuela released from prison an American filmmaker who had been jailed on espionage charges, removing an immediate irritant in the relationship.

If Snowden came to Venezuela, they would not hand him over to the United States, they would give him safe haven,” said David Smilde, a researcher with the Washington Office on Latin America, a political think tank.

“But if they gave him [permanent] safe haven, that would seriously harm improved relations.”

Some U.S. lawmakers assailed Snowden for seeking refuge in countries that are sworn enemies of the United States.

It would not be surprising if the NSA leaker finds safe haven in Cuba or Venezuela, two regimes that have a longstanding history of giving refuge to fugitives from U.S. law," said U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in a statement. "Let us not forget that Phillip Agee, former CIA agent, leaked classified information about CIA personnel and fled the U.S. to seek refuge until he passed away in 2008 in Cuba."

"The cruel irony is that there are no press freedoms in either Cuba or Venezuela, yet Snowden who supposedly stands for transparency in government seeks refuge in police states like these two countries," the congresswoman said. "Those who misrule over Cuba and Venezuela, Raul Castro and Nicolas Maduro, do not allow independent free press, do not cooperate on terrorism related issues, disregard due process and an independent judicial system."

Kerry, indeed, warned about serious consequences for any nation that gives Snowden asylum or aids in his transport and evasion of extradition.

Giving Snowden support, said Shifter of the Inter-American Dialogue, would not do much to bolster the popularity of Raul Castro or Correa inside their own nations.

Correa, in particular, already is very popular in his country, having won reelection by a landslide.

“It’s basically about taking on a cause that puts the United States, from their point of view, in a questionable light,” he said. “And it’s trying to associated themselves with what they see as heroes, whistleblowers.”

That said, however, Smilde argued that the United States itself may not want to keep a bright spotlight on the Snowden saga for the long-run.

Right now there’s a lot of bravado,” said Smilde in a telephone interview from Caracas, where he is conducting research. “Once he gets safe passage, given asylum by some country, this will die down.”

Plus, one must remember that the U.S. State Department is also walking a political tightrope right now, considering the damaging information Snowden revealed.



This is not flattering to the United States,” said Smilde.It defends democracy all over the world, and here is someone who has revealed extensive surveillance by the U.S. government of its citizens. They’ll want this to go away.”


--XT bureaucratic restructuring key

Lack of a high level policy coordinator for Latin America prevents improving relations


Gvosdev, 12 - former editor of the National Interest, and a frequent foreign policy commentator in both the print and broadcast media. He is currently on the faculty of the U.S. Naval War College (Nikolas, “To Reset Latin America Policy, U.S. Must Think Big,” 4/20, World Politics Review, http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/11867/the-realist-prism-to-reset-latin-america-policy-u-s-must-think-big)
Nor has the administration been willing to empower a senior official to act as an overall coordinator or special envoy for the region, with clear authority to begin the slow and tedious process of laying the foundation for closer ties. As a result, the careful nurturing that it will take to solidify and expand partnerships -- starting with Brazil, which is still skittish about U.S. regional influence -- is not taking place. And while some progress occurred in the Obama-Rousseff summit, notably in the area of trade and in creating a system for regular consultation between the two countries’ defense establishments, there is no game-changing initiative -- the equivalent of the U.S.-India nuclear deal -- on the horizon for U.S.-Brazilian relations.

Goforth argues that the president, despite his disappointing summit in Cartagena, should complement his recently unveiled domestic energy plan with a call for a regional energy partnership. “The geoeconomics are straightforward: Latin America is just beginning to tap into a fresh oil and natural-gas bonanza. . . . The technology of U.S. energy companies is absolutely necessary if Brazil is to recover its vast offshore oil reserves; U.S. industry will also be needed if Argentina and Mexico are to tap their shale-gas reserves, estimated to be the third- and fourth-largest in the world, respectively.” According to Goforth, such a regional energy partnership could allow the U.S. to eliminate Middle Eastern oil imports over the next 10 years.



It is an ambitious plan, one that would require empowering a senior official to oversee and coordinate the interagency process so as to navigate the inevitable roadblocks. Energy Secretary Steven Chu does not seem interested, nor does he have the traction within the U.S. national security bureaucracy required for moving forward. However, if Obama is elected to a second term, and if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton steps down, the president could insist that a new appointee at State make this a top priority for U.S. foreign policy. Alternatively, as I have advocated on several occasions, this could be a project run through the vice president’s office.


--XT – alt causes

US domestic politics prevents greater engagement with Latin America


Gvosdev, 12 - former editor of the National Interest, and a frequent foreign policy commentator in both the print and broadcast media. He is currently on the faculty of the U.S. Naval War College (Nikolas, “To Reset Latin America Policy, U.S. Must Think Big,” 4/20, World Politics Review, http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/11867/the-realist-prism-to-reset-latin-america-policy-u-s-must-think-big)
Part of the problem is that important U.S. domestic lobbies are opposed to key pieces of what would be needed to promote greater regional integration -- from environmentalists concerned both about Canada’s oil sands and new pipeline projects that would transport more of Alberta’s hydrocarbons to U.S. refineries and markets to a formidable anti-immigration lobby that would be very hesitant to support a freer flow of labor between the countries of the Western Hemisphere. Add post-Sept. 11 security concerns and a prevailing view among many U.S. voters that free trade agreements usually come at the expense of the American worker, and it becomes more apparent why no U.S. politician has emerged as a strong advocate for a Community of the Americas.

And while domestic politics are always going to be intertwined with foreign policy, U.S. messaging, particularly in Cartagena, seemed to convey just how much a domestic U.S. agenda is driving interaction with the rest of the region. Whether intended or not, Washington’s continued emphasis on framing foreign engagement as a way to boost U.S. job numbers does not provide much incentive for other states to embrace the U.S. agenda, as Obama similarly discovered during visits to India and other states in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, the unwillingness to alter the U.S. position on Cuba set the tone in Cartagena, reinforcing the perception that U.S. strategy toward the region is seen through the prism of domestic politics -- in this case Florida’s electoral votes.



U.S. neglect inevitable even after the plan


Llana 2011 [Sara Miller, “A year of drift in US-Latin American relations”, Dec 23, 2011, Christian Science Monitor, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/Latin-America-Monitor/2011/1223/A-year-of-drift-in-US-Latin-American-relations//cc]
In March, US President Barack Obama took his first trip to Latin America, stopping off in Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador. In October, the US approved long-awaited free trade deals with Panama and Colombia. According to the 2011 Latinobarometro poll, carried out across 18 countries in the region, President Obama ranked as the most popular leader in the Americas.

This year should have been a stellar one for US-Latin America relations, a major step forward after years of setback. But instead, despite the many positive developments, the relationship is characterized by, if not disdain, then definite distance.

“I think it’s a curious moment,” says Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington. “There is no evidence of great acrimony in US-Latin American relations as there was four or five years ago. But at the same time, there is this sense of distancing and drift, especially between the US and South America.”

The greatest symbol of that is the regional body that was officially launched in December, called the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which includes 33 countries across the Americas but specifically excludes the US and Canada.

Many members of the body are strong allies of the US, but long-time foes such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have said they hope it counters the other major regional body, the Organization of American States (OAS), based in Washington.

Such old-time arguments still flare. President Chavez, for example, has been weakened at home, as the country’s opposition strengthens ahead of 2012 presidential elections. In theory, that is good for the US, and the rhetoric between the two has been low-key this year. But it just flared again, with Obama sharply criticizing the state of human rights in Venezuela and the country’s relationship with Iran.

We're concerned about the government's actions, which have restricted the universal rights of the Venezuelan people, threatened basic democratic values, and failed to contribute to the security in the region," Obama wrote in response to questions posed by the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal.

He added that he believes Venezuela’s relationship with Iran has not served the interest of Venezuelans. “Ultimately, it is up to the Venezuelan people to determine what they gain from a relationship with a country that violates universal human rights and is isolated from much of the world,” President Obama said. “Here in the Americas, we take Iranian activities, including in Venezuela, very seriously and we will continue to monitor them closely.”

Chavez countered on state television: "Obama, take care of your own business, focus on governing your country, which you've turned into a disaster. Leave us alone.”

Venezuela’s relationship with Iran is among the most contentious foreign policies issues within the US-Latin American dynamic but other relationships rankle too. The Cuban government, for example, decreed three days of mourning this week in the wake of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. They joined Venezuela and Nicaragua in expressing condolences.

But in general, the positive has outweighed the negative this year. Perhaps the US’s strongest ally in the region right now is Mexico, where its strategy against organized crime, despite questionable success, is vociferously supported in Washington. The US continues to underline its support.

The trade deal signed with Panama and Colombia strengthens US economic ties to both countries. And the US has restored relations with the economic powerhouse in the region – Brazil. (Trouble had started to brew over former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s relationship with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.)

Still, on balance, the US is no closer to Latin America than it’s been since 9/11, when attention shifted to terrorism and away from the issues most Latin Americans care about, especially immigration. The region’s favorable view of the US has grown, from 58 percent in 2008 to 72 percent in 2011 (down slightly from a high of 74 percent in 2009), according to the 2011 Latinobarometro poll. The slight dip can be explained by a boost in expectations for Obama after former US President George W. Bush left office – he was widely reviled in Latin America. But even under Obama issues like immigration and drugs have been stuck. There is little hope of them getting “unstuck” in the upcoming US election year.



More than anything, however, is the simple fact that the US is no longer the sole player for Latin America. Obama's March trip was billed by the media as an effort to recapture US influence in Latin America. But Latin America has moved on. Countries are looking amongst themselves and much farther, particularly to China, to bolster their economies. They are forming their own relationships with countries, whether the US likes it or not. Of course US foreign policy matters here, but it matters so much less than it used to.

“There is just a sense that Latin America is pursuing its own agenda,” says Mr. Shifter.


The U.S. will stay self-absorbed – no improvement is possible without a change in politics


Farnsworth 2011 – vice president of the Council of the Americas and Americas Society [Eric, “U.S.-Latin American Relations: From Here to Where?”, tApril 12, 2011, http://www.as-coa.org/articles/us-latin-american-relations-here-where//cc]
Washington will continue to be self-consumed and self-absorbed, limiting the ability and the desire of the United States to project influence abroad or to take on additional priorities outside the immediate political environment. Domestic politics will prevail. This has profound implications for U.S. relations with Latin America, particularly a Latin America that is newly empowered through economic growth to determine a different future.

Of course, Latin America is not homogeneous. It makes little sense to discuss the region en toto given the differences between Argentina and Guatemala or Haiti and Chile. The countries of the region are different, and therefore policies must be designed to take account of current realties on the ground. U.S. relations with Brazil are fundamentally different from U.S. relations with Venezuela or Colombia.

What is similar is the way that U.S. policies that are essentially domestic in nature affect the individual and diverse countries of the region. For example, immigration reform is more directly related to U.S. relations with Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean; nonetheless, a lack of immigration reform also affects growing migrant communities from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela. Trade relations, another sensitive political issue domestically, also affect the region as a whole. The inability to pass and implement pending agreements with Colombia and Panama or to abide by the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) provisions on cross-border trucking, as well as Buy America provisions in the stimulus package, a lack of progress to conclude the Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organization, and the moribund Free Area of the Americas, affect all Latin American countries by calling into question the ability of the United States to provide needed leadership on trade. Instead, regional trade agreements with other partners have proliferated, arguably making the conduct of trade relations in the hemisphere more complicated. Finally, security assistance is also at issue because of domestic priorities given spending constraints that affect the continued implementation of the Merida Initiative and assistance for the Caribbean Basin, Plan Colombia, and ongoing programs across the region.

Where do these issues stand? Given the November election results, comprehensive immigration reform will not occur in the near term. Trade relations are uncertain, depending on whether the White House will seek to push the Colombia and Panama agreements over the objections of its important labor constituency. Spending will be cut, affecting foreign aid and the ability to promote the Administration’s social agenda in the hemisphere. At this point, the United States is not in a position to “bear any burden” in the hemisphere, as says John F. Kennedy’s famous phrase.

As a result, Washington needs to take a step back and consider what its core interests are in the Americas and how best to promote them. The region has advanced considerably in the past decade at the same time that the tools available for use by the United States have diminished and interest in the region from nontraditional parties including China has increased exponentially. The game is changing. The question now is, how should Washington react?


Structural and political barriers prevent stronger relations


Weisbrot 11, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research— (Mark, “Obama’s Latin America Policy: Continuity Without Change” , Center for Economic and Policy Research, May 2011, http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/obamas-latin-america-policy-2011-05.pdf

Introduction)


In the articles in Foreign Affairs and other publications of the establishment there is little to indicate

that these analysts have grasped the historic significance of the transformation that has taken place

over the past decade. Latin America is now more independent of the United States than Europe is,

and its independence is growing. There are structural reasons for these changes, among them the

failure of neoliberalism, the collapse of the International Monetary Fund’s creditors’ cartel in the

region (which was the major avenue of U.S. influence), the rising relative importance of Asia as a

source of markets and investment funds, and the increasing multipolarity of world politics. Perhaps

most important, the people of the region have voted for left governments because they can: in the



past, as is sadly still the case in Honduras and Haiti today, the United States did not allow such

choices to be made peacefully.

Yet the foreign policy establishment here sees Latin America’s leftward shift as primarily just a swing

of the pendulum, something that will eventually swing back and allow the United States to regain its

lost influence without changing its policies. Needless to say, this is unlikely.

The capture of the House of Representatives by the Republicans will simply provide more pressure

for the continuation of the administration’s conservative policies toward Latin America.

Current crimes and drug problems hinder US-Latin American Relations


Barshefsky and Hill 08 (Charlene and James T., Chairs on The Council on Foreign Relations, “U.S.-Latin America Relations: A New Direction for a New Reality”, Council on Foreign Relations, 2008, PDF)//WNM
In short, public insecurity could undermine progress on a variety of other fronts if not addressed urgently and adequately. As the vice president of Colombia, Francisco Santos, recently stated, ‘‘Crime is the biggest problem of the next decade. It will hinder tourism, investment, and threaten democracy.’’21 It is also a challenge that weighs heavily on the region’s relationship with the United States. Drug production and trafficking have long been among the defining issues of U.S.-Latin America relations. More recently, given economic ties and continuing migratory flows, the threat represented by transnational gangs has highlighted a deepening connection between the United States and Latin American security.


Relations bad – economy




US-Latin American interdependence cause economic instability for Latin America


Petras 09 – a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University (James, “Rising Militarism: US-Latin American Relations”, Palestine Chronicle, 14 May 2009, http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.umich.edu/docview/432417012?accountid=14667)
Latin America faces a rising tide of US protectionism as the Obama regime reacts to the domestic economic depression by forcing Latin America to seek new trading partners, to protect their internal markets and to seek new sources for trade and credit.

Latin America Faces the World Crisis

Throughout Latin America, the economic depression is wrecking havoc on the economy, the labor market, trade, credit and investment. All the major countries in the region are headed toward negative growth, and experiencing double digit unemployment, rising levels of poverty and mass protests. In Brazil in late March and early April, a coalition of trade unions, urban social movements and the rural landless workers movement convoked large scale demonstrations - including participation from the union confederation, CUT, which is usually allied with Lula`s Workers Party.



Unemployment rates in Brazil have risen sharply, exceeding 10%, as massive lay-offs hit the auto and other metallurgical industries. In Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, strikes and protests have begun to spread in protest over rising unemployment, the increase of bankruptcies among exporters facing world-wide decline in demand and unable to secure financing.

The more industrialized Latin American countries, whose economies are more integrated into world markets and have followed an export growth strategy, are the ones most adversely affected by the world depression. This includes Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico. In addition, countries dependent on overseas remittances and tourism, like Ecuador, the Central American and Caribbean countries and even Mexico, with their 'open' economies, are badly hit by world recession.

While the US financial collapse did not have a major and immediate impact on Latin America- largely because the earlier financial crashes in Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador and Chile led their governments to impose limits on speculation - the indirect results of the US crash, especially with regard to the credit freeze and the decline of world trade, has brought down productive sectors across the board. By mid-2009, manufacturing, mining, services and agriculture, in the private and public sector were firmly in the grip of a recession.

The vulnerability of Latin America to the world crises is a direct result of the structure of production and the development strategies adopted the region. Following the 'neo-liberal' or empire-centered 'restructuring' of the economies which took place between the mid-1970s through the 1990s, the economic profile of Latin America was characterized by a weak state sector due to privatization of all key productive sectors. The de-nationalization of strategic financial, credit, trading and mining sectors increased vulnerability as did the highly concentrated income and property ownership held mainly by small foreign and domestic elite. These characteristics were further exacerbated by the primary commodity boom between early 2003 until the middle of 2008. The regimes' further shift toward an export strategy relying on primary products set the stage for a crash. As a result of its economic structure Latin America was extremely vulnerable to the decision taken by US and EU policy makers in charge of key economic sectors. De-nationalization denied the state the necessary levers to meet the crisis by reversing the direction of the economy.

Relations bad: multipolarity




Expanding US-Latin American relations undermines the transition to multipolarity


Latin American Perspectives 11 – position paper created by the LAP editorial board, LAP discusses and debates the political economies of capitalism, imperialism, and socialism in the Americas. Latin American Perspectives offers a vital multidisciplinary view (“Dangerous Complacencies: Obama, Latin America, and the Misconceptions of Power”, Sage, 11 May 2011, http://lap.sagepub.com/content/38/4/14
FORTRESS AMERICA: THE POLITICS OF EMPIRE

Over the past decade, Latin America has experienced dramatic change, with the rise of social democratic and socialist governments in many countries. As a whole, these governments have challenged traditional asymmetrical power relations with the United States by insisting on respect for sovereignty, advancing the idea of a multipolar world, assuming a greater role on the international stage, promoting regional integration, and developing alternative regional organizations that do not include Washington. Moreover, most of the countries in the region have deepened commercial relations with China, South Asia, Europe, and Africa and no longer depend exclusively upon the United States. Nearly absent two decades ago, China today has become one of Latin America’s most important trading partners.5



Confronted by these important changes, the Bush administration responded to the challenges represented most clearly by the anti-imperialist governments of Chávez and Morales with a policy of hostility that denied their legitimacy and sought to create a cold-war-style “axis of evil” linking them to the eternally demonized Cuba as a threat to democracy in the hemisphere and as inadequately enthusiastic participants in the “war on drugs.” Furthermore, it attempted to drive a wedge between them and the more acceptable “pink” governments such as Lula’s in Brazil. Upon taking office, the Obama administration had two choices: establish a new framework for improved, more equitable relations with Latin America or continue the right-wing counterattack in the region while exercising its military power to reclaim its lost influence. It was not only leftists who recognized the benefits for the United States of more enlightened policies. Influential Washington think tanks such as the Brookings Institution (2008) wrote extensive policy recommendations for improving relations. Obama also received a letter in October 2008, signed by leading U.S. academics on Latin America including most of the past presidents of the Latin American Studies Association, suggesting policy changes (Rizvi, 2008). Unfortunately, under Obama and a Democratic Congress the promise of change never materialized; instead of withdrawing support for conservative and even antidemocratic forces and renouncing the direct exercise of military power to reclaim U.S. influence, Washington appears still to consider Latin America its “backyard” and prioritizes relations with compliant governments on the right. This myopic view of Latin America seeks to counter regional resistance to U.S. efforts to solidify its hegemony.


Relations bad: imperialism




Trade and economic relations with Latin America threaten imperialism and paternalistic action by the United States


Quiliconi 2005 – PhD in Politics and International Relations from the University of Southern California [Cintia, “US–Latin American Trade Relations: Path to the Future or Dead End Street?”, https://cps.ceu.hu/sites/default/files/publications/cps-working-paper-us-latin-american-trade-relations-2005.pdf//cc]
2. Hegemony through the Lens of Economic Relations

The theory of hegemonic stability as applied to international political economy defines hegemony as

the preponderance of material resources. According to Keohane (1988) hegemonic powers seek

control over raw materials, sources of capital, control of the markets and competitive advantages in

the production of value-added goods. In contrast, a Gramscian definition of hegemony considers that

this situation occurs when one class exercises leadership over the other classes by gaining their active

consent through ideological, moral or cultural values. Thus, hegemony as applied to the international

arena is not the domination of one nation by another, but the leadership of a transnational

dominating class sustaining a dominant core.

Foreign policy reflects the interests of a small elite that control the domestic political economy.

Civil society, which Gramsci defines as the complex of private organizations such as political parties,

trade unions and the mass media, has played a influential role in forming US foreign policy once the

capitalist mode of production has become consolidated. In this sense, the aim of promoting



democracy and a free market is to penetrate civil society in countries of US interest and not to

suppress but inculcate it with the understanding that democracy is a material force that orients and

sets limits on human behavior by establishing general codes of conduct that tend to strengthen free



market principles.

Ruggie (1998) points out that political authority represents a fusion of power with a legitimate



social purpose. In this sense, the way in which power and legitimate social purpose become fused to

project political authority into the international system, led the author to characterize the

international economic order by the term “embedded liberalism”. Economics is clearly the primary



force behind US foreign policy in Latin America; the role of the US became to institute and safeguard

the self-regulating market as its most important security concern. The liberal international economic

order is maintained by a hegemon that uses its resources and influence to establish and manage an

international economy based on free trade, monetary stability and the free movement of capital

(Gilpin, 2001). The US was a firm hegemonic power with imperial aspirations during the Cold War

and this situation forced Latin American countries to enter the international scene either in a passive

or American-friendly way. Nowadays the situation is completely different, as Latin American leaders



appear more ambivalent about the nature of US hegemony and its effect on their countries’ interests.

Latin America is a relatively important market for US exports and is the recipient of billions of

dollars in private and government US loans. At the same time, the region is a major source of raw

materials and other resources, and is also an expanding region for US foreign direct investment (FDI).



In the American foreign policy to the region there has been a shift from coercive mechanisms of social

control to consensual ones and that turning point corresponds with the development of initiatives for

globalization since the late 1970s and beginning of the 1980s.

Since the end of the Cold War, it can be argued that the US has viewed Latin America as



important only in economic terms; what Tulchin (1997) has described as the “NAFTA-ization” of

inter-American relations. US policy seems to avoid getting involved in security issues except where



domestic politics put pressure on involvement. In this sense, inter-American relations in the postCold War era are characterized by their focus on trade and economic issues. However, as mentioned

before, security and economic agendas are intertwined and it is difficult to disaggregate objectives in

these two different arenas.

Obama will only continue the imperialistic policies of the status quo – cooperation is impossible


Gutiérrez 2008 [José Antonio, “Obama and Latin America: a friendly imperialism?”, June 22, http://www.threepennytaproom.com/integralpsychosis/2008/06/22/obama-and-latin-america-a-friendly-imperialism//cc]
Obama go home!

It is only natural for Obama to increase the virulence of the imperialist politics towards Latin America; after all, he knows that he will be in command of a sinking ship, of an empire stuck in a swamp of political, economic and military troubles. The depth of the US crisis is not, this time, a result of the hallucinating desires of a bunch of utopian leftists – tycoons such as Soros or economists such as Stiglitz are turning into the main prophets of the new crisis. And every single empire in crisis has to resort to higher levels of violence, in a similar fashion to a drowning man who tries to remain afloat by blindly slapping the water’s surface. In the same way, Obama is already threatening Venezuela and Iran.

Every worn-out project needs to refresh its image, to display some renewal on its facade in order to conceal its exhaustion. This wearing out of the “American Way” made it possible for something unthinkable to happen… a black candidate! The perfect chief for this crisis, a cosmetic change for the substance of the domination system to remain untouched: imperialism has never been an issue of melanin.



The imperial politics of the US are not up to each US president to decide: it is a well ingrained element in the Yankee State apparatus, in the social forces which shape the life of that nation, and the single force that can alter this order of things is the grassroots, bottom-up, struggle of the people. For let us remember something that we Latin Americans frequently forget: in the US there are also people. There is also a working class. Change depends on them. A US president, at most, can decide what version of imperialism he wants to apply, be it a Neanderthal version of imperialism, or a “forced consensus” version.

Relations High

U.S. influence in Latin America is stronger than ever


Duddy and Mora 2013 – U.S. ambassador to Venezuela from 2007 until 2010 and is senior lecturer at Duke University; director of the Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University [Patrick and Frank, “Latin America: Is U.S. influence waning?”, http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/01/3375160/latin-america-is-us-influence.html//cc]
Is U.S. influence in Latin America on the wane? It depends how you look at it.

As President Obama travels to Mexico and Costa Rica, it’s likely the pundits will once again underscore what some perceive to be the eroding influence of the United States in the Western Hemisphere. Some will point to the decline in foreign aid or the absence of an overarching policy with an inspiring moniker like “Alliance for Progress” or “Enterprise Area of the Americas” as evidence that the United States is failing to embrace the opportunities of a region that is more important to this country than ever.



The reality is a lot more complicated. Forty-two percent of all U.S. exports flow to the Western Hemisphere. In many ways, U.S. engagement in the Americas is more pervasive than ever, even if more diffused. That is in part because the peoples of the Western Hemisphere are not waiting for governments to choreograph their interactions.

A more-nuanced assessment inevitably will highlight the complex, multidimensional ties between the United States and the rest of the hemisphere. In fact, it may be that we need to change the way we think and talk about the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. We also need to resist the temptation to embrace overly reductive yardsticks for judging our standing in the hemisphere.

As Moises Naim notes in his recent book, The End of Power, there has been an important change in power distribution in the world away from states toward an expanding and increasingly mobile set of actors that are dramatically shaping the nature and scope of global relationships. In Latin America, many of the most substantive and dynamic forms of engagement are occurring in a web of cross-national relationships involving small and large companies, people-to-people contact through student exchanges and social media, travel and migration.

Trade and investment remain the most enduring and measurable dimensions of U.S. relations with the region. It is certainly the case that our economic interests alone would justify more U.S. attention to the region. Many observers who worry about declining U.S. influence in this area point to the rise of trade with China and the presence of European companies and investors.

While it is true that other countries are important to the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean, it is also still true that the United States is by far the largest and most important economic partner of the region and trade is growing even with those countries with which we do not have free trade agreements.

An area of immense importance to regional economies that we often overlook is the exponential growth in travel, tourism and migration. It is commonplace to note the enormous presence of foreign students in the United States but in 2011, according to the Institute of International Education, after Europe, Latin America was the second most popular destination for U.S. university students. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. tourists travel every year to Latin America and the Caribbean helping to support thousands of jobs.



From 2006-2011 U.S. non-government organizations, such as churches, think tanks and universities increased the number of partnerships with their regional cohorts by a factor of four. Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean from the United States totaled $64 billion in 2012. Particularly for the smaller economies of Central America and the Caribbean these flows can sometimes constitute more than 10 percent of gross domestic product.

US influence in Latin America is higher than ever – China and Russia are nowhere close


O’Neil 2012 – senior fellow for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations [Shannon K, “U.S. is still Latin America’s biggest trading partner”, November 16, http://www.voxxi.com/us-latin-americas-biggest-trading-partner//cc]
Many talk about the United States’ declining influence in Latin America, pointing to the rising role of China or European companies, investors, and governments. Yet a closer look at the economic ties between the United States and Latin America questions whether this part of the relationship has in fact weakened.

The United States has been Latin America’s biggest trading partner throughout much of the region’s history, and this trend continues today. In 2011 trade between the United States and Latin America topped $800 billion, more than three times the region’s exchanges with China. It is also growing faster than U.S. trade with nearly any other region in the world—over 80 percent in the last decade. The lion’s share occurs between the United States and Mexico ($460 billion, or some 58 percent of regional trade). U.S. commercial ties with Brazil and Venezuela follow, together totaling another 16 percent.

Latin America’s biggest trading partner

For Latin America’s seventeen countries, thirteen import more goods from the United States than anywhere else. This includes Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Venezuela, Honduras, and Mexico. Most of these imports are manufactured goods, including computers and computer accessories, telecommunication parts, cars, civilian aircraft, and machinery. For ten of the seventeen countries, the United States is the primary export destination. Most send raw materials—oil, minerals, and agricultural products—to the north.

U.S. foreign direct investment in Latin America remains high, totaling over $25 billion (or just under 20 percent of all FDI in Latin America) in 2011. Though technically surpassed by the Netherlands (which sent closer to $32 billion) the 2011 ECLAC report finds that only 8 percent of FDI from the Netherlands comes from companies based there; it is instead largely a conduit for investments by companies in third countries. The United States was the largest foreign investor in Mexico, as well as in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Paraguay. Most of this money concentrated on manufacturing, especially the chemical and the automobile industries. U.S. investments far surpass those made by China, which, as explained in a previous post, mostly head to the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands (suggesting tax considerations instead of productive activities).

Where the United States’ economic heft perhaps comes up short is in the area of government-backed development loans. Here the U.S. Export-Import Bank is much less active than China’s Development Bank and Export-Import Bank (which outpace the U.S. Export-Import bank, World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank loans combined).

Overall, the data suggests that the United States is still by far the region’s largest and most important economic partner. Over the last two decades, free trade agreements with Mexico (NAFTA), Central America (CAFTA), Peru, Colombia, Chile, and Panama have strengthened these ties. During the 2012 campaign, both presidential candidates talked about deepening these economic links in the future. With Obama’s win, the next economic step looks to be the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would bring together Chile, Peru, Mexico, the United States, and Canada in the Western Hemisphere with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam in a comprehensive free trade area. If successful, the agreement would likely increase trade and foreign direct investment between the participants, bringing the United States and at least these Latin American countries closer than ever.


U.S. Soft power is prevalent in status quo Latin America


Duddy and Mora 2013 – U.S. ambassador to Venezuela from 2007 until 2010 and is senior lecturer at Duke University; director of the Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University [Patrick and Frank, “Latin America: Is U.S. influence waning?”, http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/01/3375160/latin-america-is-us-influence.html//cc]
Finally, one should not underestimate the resiliency of U.S. soft power in the region. The power of national reputation, popular culture,values and institutions continues to contribute to U.S. influence in ways that are difficult to measure and impossible to quantify. Example: Despite 14 years of strident anti-American rhetoric during the Chávez government, tens of thousand of Venezuelans apply for U.S. nonimmigrant visas every year, including many thousands of Chávez loyalists.

Does this mean we can feel comfortable relegating U.S. relations with the hemisphere to the second or third tier of our international concerns? Certainly not. We have real and proliferating interests in the region. As the president and his team head to Mexico and Costa Rica, it is important to recognize the importance of our ties to the region.

We have many individual national partners in the Americas. We don’t need a new template for relations with the hemisphere as a whole or another grand U.S.-Latin America strategy. A greater commitment to work more intensely with the individual countries on the issues most relevant to them would be appropriate. The United States still has the economic and cultural heft in the region to play a fundamental role and to advance its own interests.

Relations growing now despite criticism


Latin American Herald Tribune 2013 (News for the English-reading public about Latin America, “U.S. Reaffirms Commitment to Latin America Security, Development”, LAHT ,Jun 21, 2013 http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=815509&CategoryId=12394)
WASHINGTON – The United States remains committed to Latin America’s security and development through multiple bilateral cooperation accords and within the framework of a “pragmatic” and mutually respectful relationship, a senior Obama administration official told Efe.

The remarks served to counter criticism from some sectors in the United States who contend that Washington, despite its rhetoric and visits by top officials to the region, is not promoting closer ties with Latin America through concrete measures.

“The most important message is that we view our relations in the hemisphere as a relationship of equal partners. I think the president has made that very clear through his words and through his actions in the region,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

Since 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama has traveled to Latin America a total of six times, while Vice President Joe Biden has made four trips to the region, and over this period “our entire approach has been based on equal partnership,” the official added.

Latin America has seen “a massive increase in its middle class and a reduction in severe poverty” and, within the context of a “pragmatic” relationship, Washington is working jointly to respond to challenges such as promoting economic development, reducing energy costs and increasing the competitiveness of the region’s economies.


Economic ties high now – Latin America cooperation key to interdependence and free trade


O’Neil 2012 – Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations [Shannon, “U.S.–Latin America Economic Ties”, November 16, http://blogs.cfr.org/oneil/2012/11/16/u-s-latin-america-economic-ties/cc]
Many talk about the United States’ declining influence in Latin America, pointing to the rising role of China or European companies, investors, and governments. Yet a closer look at the economic ties between the United States and Latin America questions whether this part of the relationship has in fact weakened.

The United States has been Latin America’s biggest trading partner throughout much of the region’s history, and this trend continues today. In 2011 trade between the United States and Latin America topped $800 billion, more than three times the region’s exchanges with China. It is also growing faster than U.S. trade with nearly any other region in the world—over 80 percent in the last decade. The lion’s share occurs between the United States and Mexico ($460 billion, or some 58 percent of regional trade). U.S. commercial ties with Brazil and Venezuela follow, together totaling another 16 percent.

For Latin America’s seventeen countries, thirteen import more goods from the United States than anywhere else. This includes Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Venezuela, Honduras, and Mexico. Most of these imports are manufactured goods, including computers and computer accessories, telecommunication parts, cars, civilian aircraft, and machinery. For ten of the seventeen countries, the United States is the primary export destination. Most send raw materials—oil, minerals, and agricultural products—to the north.



U.S. foreign direct investment in Latin America remains high, totaling over $25 billion (or just under 20 percent of all FDI in Latin America) in 2011. Though technically surpassed by the Netherlands (which sent closer to $32 billion) the 2011 ECLAC report finds that only 8 percent of FDI from the Netherlands comes from companies based there; it is instead largely a conduit for investments by companies in third countries. The United States was the largest foreign investor in Mexico, as well as in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Paraguay. Most of this money concentrated on manufacturing, especially the chemical and the automobile industries. U.S. investments far surpass those made by China, which, as explained in a previous post, mostly head to the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands (suggesting tax considerations instead of productive activities).

Where the United States’ economic heft perhaps comes up short is in the area of government-backed development loans. Here the U.S. Export-Import Bank is much less active than China’s Development Bank and Export-Import Bank (which outpace the U.S. Export-Import bank, World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank loans combined).



Overall, the data suggests that the United States is still by far the region’s largest and most important economic partner. Over the last two decades, free trade agreements with Mexico (NAFTA), Central America (CAFTA), Peru, Colombia, Chile, and Panama have strengthened these ties. During the 2012 campaign, both presidential candidates talked about deepening these economic links in the future. With Obama’s win, the next economic step looks to be the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would bring together Chile, Peru, Mexico, the United States, and Canada in the Western Hemisphere with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam in a comprehensive free trade area. If successful, the agreement would likely increase trade and foreign direct investment between the participants, bringing the United States and at least these Latin American countries closer than ever.


Immigration Reform key to relations

Immigration and counternarcotics undermines relations


Inter-American Dialogue 12 - the Inter-American Dialogue is the leading US center for policy analysis, exchange, and communication on issues in Western Hemisphere affairs(“Remaking the Relationship The United States and Latin America”, April 2012, http://www.thedialogue.org/PublicationFiles/IAD2012PolicyReportFINAL.pdf)
Some enduring problems stand squarely in the way of partnership and effective cooperation . The inability of Washington to reform its broken immigration system is a constant source of friction between the United States and nearly every other country in the Americas . Yet US officials rarely refer to immigration as a foreign policy issue . Domestic policy debates on this issue disregard the United States’ hemispheric agenda as well as the interests of other nations.

Another chronic irritant is US drug policy, which most Latin Americans now believe makes their drug and crime problems worse . Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while visiting Mexico, acknowledged that US anti-drug programs have not worked . Yet, despite growing calls and pressure from the region, the United States has shown little interest in exploring alternative approaches . Similarly, Washington’s more than half-century embargo on Cuba, as well as other elements of United States’ Cuba policy, is strongly opposed by all other countries in the hemisphere . Indeed, the US position on these troublesome issues—immigration, drug policy, and Cuba—has set Washington against the consensus view of the hemisphere’s other 34 governments. These issues stand as obstacles to further cooperation in the Americas. The United States and the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean need to resolve them in order to build more productive partnerships.

Immigration shreds cooperation


Inter-American Dialogue 12 - the Inter-American Dialogue is the leading US center for policy analysis, exchange, and communication on issues in Western Hemisphere affairs(“Remaking the Relationship The United States and Latin America”, April 2012, http://www.thedialogue.org/PublicationFiles/IAD2012PolicyReportFINAL.pdf)
Washington’s failure to repair the United States’ broken immigration system is breeding resentment across the region, nowhere more so than in the principal points of origin and transit: Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Latin Americans find the idea of building a wall on the US-Mexico border particularly offensive.

Despite bitter political battles over immigration in the United States, there is general agreement about what sensible reform would include . It combines effective border and employer enforcement, the adoption of a general worker program consistent with labor market needs in the United States, and a path toward residence and citizenship for the estimated 12 million unauthorized residents living in the country . This package is similar to the reform effort (unfortunately defeated in Congress) proposed under President George W . Bush .

The complicated and divisive politics of the United States, compounded by the weakness of the US economy, have so far blocked this comprehensive approach . But more limited measures such as the Dream Act, allowing children brought to the United States without appropriate documentation an opportunity to qualify for citizenship, would not only be welcomed in US Latino communities and in Latin America, but it would demonstrate that the issue is being taken seriously and with a measure of compassion in Washington .

Sensible US immigration policies promise to benefit the US economy . Migrants make up a significant percentage of younger workers. Their presence would improve the labor demographic and increase the US capacity for economic growth even while their contributions help sustain the US social security system. Immigration reform would also recognize the growing “Latinoamericanization” of the United States . Roughly one sixth of the population is currently of Latino descent . The cultural, demographic and family ties of those 50 million people will continue to deepen. The United States’ inability to respond to the policy challenge of immigration will have increasingly negative consequences, standing in the way of a more productive relationship with Latin America.


Immigration turns the aff


Inter-American Dialogue 12 - the Inter-American Dialogue is the leading US center for policy analysis, exchange, and communication on issues in Western Hemisphere affairs(“Remaking the Relationship The United States and Latin America”, April 2012, http://www.thedialogue.org/PublicationFiles/IAD2012PolicyReportFINAL.pdf)
Still another advance could come through US immigration reform. By better aligning the supply and demand for workers in critical industries and opening new opportunities for millions of currently unauthorized residents, a more pragmatic migration policy would significantly bolster the US economy . No other single policy measure would more clearly demonstrate US commitment to cooperation with Latin America. The comprehensive reform advocated by both the George W . Bush and the Obama administrations represents the best approach. More modest changes, however, could still be helpful.

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