Saturday, January 11, 2003

Cuaderno Latinoamericano - Bye-Bye, Otto Reich - and good riddance! Apparently, Reich fell out of favor even with some Republican members of Congress - not to mention Colin Powell. Can't say that I'm very happy about this Noriega fellow as his replacement, though. I don't know that much about him. I'll do some homework and give my two cents as soon as I get a chance. Boy, there's a lot going on in Latin America these days - all a reflection of the Bush Administration's absolute failure with regard to the region. As Andres Oppenheimer has recently written about Bush's Latin American Policy: What policy? Bush's negligence of the region and his utter lack of leadership has only added to the upheavals and crises that the region is experiencing. Hell, Bush's best shot at making an impact in the region (with the Fox Administration of Mexico), has taken an irreversible turn for the worse with Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Jorge Castañeda resigning because of the Bush Administration's inability or unwillingness to shape a constructive and engaged relationship with Mexico. He just simply got fed up with grovelling at the doorstep of the White House. Castañeda is not a man to take such patronizing snubs lightly, and his resignation will cause Bush even more trouble as his replacement is outspokenly critical of NAFTA. All Mexico has to do to terminate its adhesion to NAFTA is to give six month's notice of its intent to withdraw. This probably won't happen with Fox at the helm, but watch the debate surface and gain some steam in Mexico to the embarrassment of Bush, whose plan for the hemisphere includes an extension of the free trade regime. Hey, let's look at the record: Bush flubs the situation in Venezuela during the first briefly successful, but ultimately unsuccessful coup against Hugo Chavez (look what results that has borne in Venezuela now!); Bush snubs the newly-elected President of Brazil by refusing to send even Colin Powell to attend the inauguration; and now Bush can be blamed for Castañeda's quitting the Mexican government. This policy drift is dangerous and pathetic.

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