Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Obama’s Trip to Latin America

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on March 11, 2011

by Shannon O’Neil for Latintelligence, March 10th, 2011.

Between March 19 and 23, President Obama will take his first foreign trip this year – and his first ever to South America. He will kick it off in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro, then head to Santiago, and finish up in San Salvador. The trip’s goal, as announced in his State of the Union address, is to “forge new alliances across the Americas.” Alongside the obvious meetings between presidents, in the works are business roundtables, a visit to one of Rio’s favelas, an Egyptian style speech to “all Latin Americans” in Santiago, and educational activities for his daughters, who, along with the First Lady, will accompany him.

Why these three nations?

Brazil is the obvious choice. It has grown into an economic and diplomatic powerhouse, weighing in on world issues from financial reform to climate change. Under Lula, it flexed its muscle at times to the discomfort of the United States – on nuclear proliferation and Middle East politics, U.S. bases in the region, and the Honduran standoff. With newly installed President Dilma Rousseff’s openness to deepening U.S.-Brazil ties, there are high hopes on both sides that the trip will open a new chapter in the relations between the two largest economies of the Americas.

On the table will be trade and investment, particularly on clean energy and Brazil’s infrastructure needs in the lead up to the World Cup and the Olympics games. Also up for discussion will be China and its currency, as companies in both countries struggle to compete with Chinese imports and investments. (continue reading… )



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