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Foreign Policy: Latin America

PREMISE: It is time for the United States to adopt a Latin American strategy that will strengthen human rights and freedom, stand by our friends and allies, advance our own interests, and weaken the threat of the Castro regime, Chavez, and any other dictator with the intent of taking away the freedom of people.

CHALLENGE: New years day of 2009 will mark a sobering occasion – a half century will have passed since darkness descended 90 miles to our south, and a despotic reign fell over the proud people of Cuba. The Castro's are dictators whose totalitarian government systematically denies individual freedoms and civil liberties such as speech, movement and assembly. The Castro's have a new tyrant to work with and he has great wealth, from oil. We must stand just as firm against tyrants like Hugo Chavez, tutored by Fidel Castro. His methodical assault on democratic institutions and his people's freedom is an insult to democracy itself. We should all be particularly troubled by the government’s hostility towards a free press and actions to take Radio Caracas Television off the air. In addition, developments in Bolivia and elsewhere show the potential of Chavez's malignant form of tyranny to spread to other countries.

 

PLAN: It is time for the United States to adopt a Latin American strategy that will strengthen human rights and freedom, that will stand by our friends and allies, that will advance our own interests, and that will weaken the threat of the Castro regime, Chavez, and any other dictator with the intent of taking away the freedom of people.

 

Continue To Isolate Castro With Economic And Diplomatic Sanctions. America will never back down to the Castro brothers. There will be no accommodation and no appeasement. There will be no end to our insistence that political prisoners are set free, and that Cubans themselves are finally given the privileges that today are enjoyed only by Castro’s cronies, and by foreign tourists. After 50 years, with so much suffering, so much sacrifice, we will not relent until the day when the Castro brothers meet their ignominious end and their history is written among the world’s most reviled despots, tyrants and frauds. Fidel Castro's health is clearly fading and his days are numbered. He will continue his succession to his brother and cohort. In 2005, the US created a plan for American assistance to ensure a democratic transition to the island nation of 11.2 million people after Fidel Castro's death. This plan should receive increased focus and be readied for immediate implementation.

 

Help Our Friends. Foreign aid and foreign investments must be focused on those who stand alongside us. In spite of great progress over the last few decades, tens of millions in the Western Hemisphere still live in poverty. United States aid and investment programs promote transparency and the economic and political reforms needed to spur development.

 

Act To Inform Public Opinion In Latin America. We should use our world renowned media and communications savvy to spread the truth about American freedom, and Castro tyranny. New strong-men ('caudillos') must not reverse the Hemisphere's hard fought economic and political freedoms. The United States and our partners in the region must continue to reject the policies of leaders such as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez that move to consolidate power, limit dissent and revert to failed socialist policies.

 

Improve Our Economic Ties. The President has negotiated vital free trade agreements with Latin American neighbors like Peru, Colombia and Panama, but some Democrats in Congress are so beholden to their labor bosses, that they have refused to pass them. It is time to put the interests of humanity and of the nation first.

 

Rebuild Relationships Of Respect And Trust And Friendship. Our Latin American friends must always feel welcome in the White House.

 

Solve The Problem Of Illegal Immigration By Securing The Border And Reaffirm Our Appreciation Of Legal Immigration. We are a nation of immigrants, and they have contributed a great deal to our culture of hard work, entrepreneurship, faith in God, love of family, and respect for human life.

 

Never Ignore Latin America. It is a great deal easier to prevent a crisis than to solve one. Since the end of the Cold War and since the terror of 9/11, America has become so preoccupied with other regions that we have forgotten our friends in our own Hemisphere. We need robust cooperation to expand opportunities in the Hemisphere and address common threats such as drug trafficking and terrorism.

 

These are troubling times in Venezuela, as Hugo Chavez continues his methodical assault on democratic institutions and his people’s freedom. I am particularly troubled by the government's hostility towards a free press and recent actions to take Radio Caracas Television off the air. There should be no doubt that the United States stands with those men and women will who step up to secure their God-given liberty – in Venezuela and throughout the Americas. The future of freedom and democracy in our Hemisphere also requires the friends of freedom in Latin America to speak clearly and forcefully to defend liberty, democracy and human rights.

 

It is time for the United States to adopt a Latin American strategy that will strengthen human rights and freedom, that will advance our own interests, and that will weaken the threat of the Castro's and Chavez.

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