Obama: New Chapter for Latinoamerica

U.S. president-elect Barack Obama today met with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who was recognized for his courage in his fight against the narcotics trafficking. Obama promised strengthening the United States' bilateral relationship with Mexico, which he recognizes as an ally and a country reflecting U.S. values of democracy and human rights. Obama also indicated that his administration is looking forward to opening a new chapter of cooperation between the United States and Latin America in general.

Obama also indicated a desire to renegotiate the Agreement of Free Commerce of North America (TLCAN) because it has resulted in a loss of jobs and has created environmental issues.

The president-elect also showed interest in creating an immigration strategy that helps both nations. The majority of the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States are Mexican.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will meet Obama in London during the April meeting of the G-20. The two will later meet in Trinidad Tobago during the Big Meeting of America which will involve all the nations of the Americas including Venezuela.

World expectations are high that the incoming Obama administration will have a positive influence on events in the Middle East and in relationships between the United States and Latin America. The hope is that the new administration will be act in concert with other nations and not as unilaterally as has the outgoing Bush administration. Argentine Ambassador to the U.S. Hector Timmerman anticipates an open dialogue with the new administration. Among the things on his agenda, reducing barriers on the marketing of meat and other products that can be traded between the two nations.

Timmerman notes that there are those in the new Obama administration, including vice president-elect Joe Biden, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanual, secretary of state designate Hillary Clinton and Obama transition team co-chair John Podesta who are astute about Latin America and have an understanding of the need for expanded cooperation with Argentina, Mexico and Brazil.


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