Substantial change for new times
Alfredo Ascanio (askain)
Published 2008-10-21 09:04 (KST)
Daniel Restrepo is advisor on hemispheric affairs for Barack Obama's presidential campaign. In a phone conversation with reporter Armando Avellaneda from Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional, Restrepo said that Obama could promote a different political relationship with Latin America.
Obama wants to reach consensus on equitable distribution of wealth, improved security for the people and strengthened democratic institutions. His strategy for Latin America is different from those of Republican candidate John McCain and current president George W. Bush, who have given more weight to free trade agreements.
During these years the United States has moved away from Latin America and left a vacuum that has been exploited by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez to promote an anti-US agenda.
Obama wants to be a partner of Latin America to help fight drug and weapon traffic and money laundering, while promoting micro-credits for small businesses and vocational education.
Advisor Restrepo reported that the US monthly expenditure in Iraq is $11 billion, yet its investments in Latin America are so small that they can be described as symbolic.
Oil consumption in the future will fall below current levels. This fact will affect its production in countries like Venezuela, Mexico and Ecuador. However, the promotion of alternative, renewable energy sources will benefit all in the region, including the current oil producers.
Another problem that Obama feels is very delicate is the external support received by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the presence of Russia and Iran in the Caribbean and South America.
All of the above are positive points, but many Hispanics in the US claim that the candidates have been unclear on the issue of immigration reform.
El Nacional published a long story by Juan Jesus Aznar, from Spanish newspaper El Pais. The report describes the many obstacles Senator Obama faces due to racial issues: for example, 17 percent of white Democrats would support John McCain. Obama's team is afraid of a
That story is an example of what is called in political science a