Latin America and the U.S Presidential Campaign

After months of almost hermetic exclusion from the U.S. presidential campaign, brief references to U.S.-Latin America relations – particularly revolving around Cuba- are beginning to be heard on the campaign trail.

It would not be unfair to characterize Senator John McCain’s position as fragmentary and entirely duplicative of traditional hard line Republican attitudes toward Havana. This effectively features a policy of non-negotiation and working for the economic asphyxiation of the Castro regime as the only option.

As for the Democrats, with the possible exception of Barack Obama and the earlier spirited position of former presidential candidate Sen. Christopher Dodd (who has called for dialogue with Castro), there has been the barest of differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Hillary Clinton, mindful (as was her husband) of Miami’s fund-raising potential and the electoral college votes to be harvested there, has said nothing that President Bush couldn’t have scornfully uttered on the subject of Cuba, emphasizing that no talks with the Castro brothers would be entered into until basic improvements are made in the island’s human rights situation. Obama, more than any of the other surviving candidates, has opened the way to talks without pre-conditions and has ridiculed past White House policy of treating Cuba with the kind of harsh standards which it applies no where else in the world, not even to Iran or North Korea.

COHA has been compiling a significant amount of material and recording a series of observations regarding U.S. policy towards Cuba, within a Latin American and a global context, which we will gladly share with our readership.

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