Obama’s Trip to Chile: COHA’s Evaluation of the Upcoming Stopover in Santiago as part of the Presidential Tour of Latin America (briefings available by telephone or in person)

COHA Staff: Weekend Telephone numbers—202.215.3473 and 202.333.1959

A score of COHA specialists in U.S.-Latin American relations are available for briefings concerning President Obama’s upcoming trip to Latin America. On March 21, the President leaves for Chile for a one-day visit, as a part of his hemispheric tour. He will then be traveling to his last stop San Salvador, El Salvador on March 22.

COHA welcomes inquiries from the media regarding the president’s upcoming trip Chile. (Note to the media: Call (202) 223-4975 or (202) 215-3473, or email coha@coha.org for more information, to schedule an interview, or to obtain a background briefing on the bilateral issues affecting each country the president will be visiting.) To reach COHA over the weekend call: (202) 333-1959 or (202) 215-3473

A number of possible points regarding the Obama trip to Chile that merit discussion are listed below:

1. Energy Diversification options for Chile and the U.S.’s role in achieving them.
2. Why is Obama’s visit to Chile shorter than the other Latin American stopovers.

3. Latin America’s pluralization of its diplomatic and trade ties and what it means for the future of regional links and “Washington’s backyard” mentality about the region.

4. U.S. paralysis in its reaction to Cuba’s negotiation bids to Washington as an obstacle to Obama’s attempts to rehabilitate North-South ties and to reform the White House’s current ineffective Latin American initiatives.

5. The Obama Administration’s benign neglect of Latin America.

6. Why is Washington’s agenda for Latin America narrow and devoid of a sweeping vision?

7. Why Chile and El Salvador were candidates to be visited as destinations for the President to visit and, for example, not Argentina and Colombia.

8. Why the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs is so indifferent in its performance and lacks a capacity for bold and smart new initiatives.

9. Chile as an example of a Latin American country with a U.S. FTA and its benefits.

10. Why is the President heading for Chile—is it because the Assistant Secretary of State, Arturo Valenzuela, is of Chilean heritage?

11. Did Chile’s democratic leadership purposely not revoke anti-democratic dictates dating back to the Pinochet era in order to pass unpopular legislation that benefited the rich, but hurt the poor?