Empire and Latin America in the Obama Era

Manuel Pérez-Rocha writes that “Obama should begin by laying to rest the divisive Bush legacy embodied in the PPA — as well as the SPP, the Mérida Initiative and Plan Colombia. This would signal that the United States is turning from a bullying empire into a good neighbor, from foe to friend; and that the Monroe Doctrine is finally repealed. A first test to see whether the United States is making these changes will be at the forthcoming Summit of the Americas.”

Barack Obama’s rise to the U.S. presidency has left most Latin Americans suspended between skepticism and hope. That’s bound to make the V Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, to be held on April 18 and 19, especially interesting.

A promising sign of meaningful change in U.S. foreign policy toward the hemisphere would be the official demise of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) of North America, whose apparent failure none of the three governments so far have dared to acknowledge. This creature of Bush’s imperial presidency was agreed to and announced with great fanfare by the U.S., Canadian and Mexican presidents in 2005. Since then, it has been an obscure process in which the executive powers of the governments, along with the CEOs of 30 of the largest corporations in the three countries — many of them military contractors — have extended the security perimeter of the United States to “ensure that North America is the safest and best place to live and do business.”

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