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Obama loses Latin America

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Barack Obama,Polls

Add Latin America to the regions of the world once wowed with President Obama and now upset to the point of disgust.

Not only did Brazil’s president cancel a state visit to Washington — the first by a world leader in memory — over the administration’s worldwide spying scandal, the region’s elites, who have clung to Obama, have given up.

The 7,000-member Latin American Studies Association, composed of influential scholars and leaders, used their recent Congress to condemn the president’s Latin American policy 1,304 to 190, a stunning rebuke from a friendly group. They detailed their debate and vote in their journal Latin American Perspectives, provided to Secrets.

A top Latin diplomat told Secrets that the lopsided vote was shocking. “These are mostly left-leaning people who support Obama. If he’s lost them, he’s lost the region.” For example, they back normalizing relations with Cuba and characterize the government of Venezuela as “progressive.”

Latin leaders have quietly grumbled for years that the president has ignored the region and kept the United States out of the explosive growth in many nations such as Brazil and Mexico, a move that has opened the door for China to slip in.


Brazil President Dilma Rousseff cancelled her October state trip over the spying scandal. AP Photo
They went public, however, once the world spying scandal broke. Brazil President Dilma Rousseff cancelled her October state trip, the type of visit that takes months of planning for meetings and parties at the White House.

The Latin American Studies Association expected more from Obama, especially after he traveled to the region in 2009 for the Summit of the Americas. But the group said that Obama has “so far failed to fulfill the hopes engendered” by the visit.

They also slapped Obama for his “persistent hostility toward progressive governments in Latin America, particularly toward Venezuela and Bolivia.”

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.