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Setting Priorities for U.S. Policy in Latin America

As President Barack Obama enters his second term, a number of pressing domestic and foreign policy concerns will continue to dominate the White House and congressional agenda. Among them are the ongoing budget and debt limit talks; the still-anemic recovery from the recession; the worsening political, military, and humanitarian crisis in Syria; and the spread of terrorism in North Africa.

Given limited attention, the Obama administration will need to establish clear priorities for U.S.–Latin American relations that advance U.S. interests in remarkably changed circumstances. (The November 2012 U.S. election and the importance of the Latino vote to Obama’s victory have already assured that the “inter-mestic” issue of immigration will figure high on the policy agendas of both political parties.) No single approach to the region can guide U.S. policy, nor can policy be successful if it does not recognize the changes in the region over the past decade that are reflected in the hemisphere’s economic and political vitality.


About the Author

Cindy Arnson

Cynthia J. Arnson

Distinguished Fellow and Former Director, Latin America Program
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Latin America Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin America Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more