On Republicans’ Vision of Latin America’s Role in the Hemisphere

I’ve been critical of Romney’s early platform towards Latin America before. Last week, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, whom some have pointed to as a possible vice-presidential candidate for Romney, published an op-ed in the L.A. Times that called for the US to focus on Latin America more. However, as with Romney’s platform a few months ago, Rubio’s op-ed again shows the real lack of originality or understanding of the current political and economic contexts in Latin America at the most basic level. Greg provides a perfect and concise summary/critique of the piece, in which Rubio basically said:

The United States needs to

–tell them [Latin American countries] we need an FTAA, which many governments do not view positively
–tell them they need to be more concerned about Iran, which is not seen by many Latin Americans as a hemispheric threat
–tell them to think differently about Cuba, even though our policy has long been rejected by our allies
–tell them to make sure we have access to their oil

These platforms demonstrate the same myopia and unilateral treatment of Latin America that were evident in the Romney platform. It’s more than a little bothersome that one of the two main parties in the United States has refused to understand or acknowledge the very real transformations in and growing power of Latin American countries in the twenty-first century, changes and transformations for the better that generally took place without the interference or aid of the United States. For those interested in the region, it is becoming increasingly clear that key figures in the Republican party either fail to or refuse to acknowledge the changes in international relations and geopolitics in the Western Hemisphere and believe we do not need to treat Latin American states as equal partners rather than passive agents.

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About Colin M. Snider

I have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in Latin American History and Comparative Indigenous History. My dissertation focused on Brazil. Beyond Latin America generally, I'm particularly interested in class identities, military politics, human rights, labor, education, music, and nation. I can be found on Twitter at @ColinMSnider.
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