Photo: President Elect Ollanta Humala and Hillary Clinton
The newly elected Peruvian leader arrived to Washington yesterday for a slew of meeting that are met to introduce him to Washington and President Obama’s key international representatives. President Ollanta Humala and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are due to meet today at 2:45pm.
President elect Ollanta Humala’s main objective is to reassure the US Secretary of State that his presidency will seek to maintain good relations with Peru’s largest trading partner.
Humala, a 49-year-old former army rebel, is expected to address concerns that his administration will restrict investment when he takes office July 28, 2011.
“Humala has become more moderate and more centrist, and this is an opportunity for him to tell the U.S. administration who he is and what his positions are,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a policy research group. “The U.S. won’t be a high priority for the Humala administration, but he’ll want to have good relations on trade, drugs and other issues.”
Humala shifted his almost “Chavist” political stance and now embraces more business friendly policies—like Brazil’s Lula, which eventually resulted in Brazil becoming the fastest-growing economy of the decade in Latin América.
Humala travels accompanied by his wife Nadine Heredia and by a group of close collaborators, possible members of his cabinet.
“The trip is an opportunity for Humala to recast his reputation in Washington, which is based on a lot of gossip,” said Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, a Washington-based research group. “Ollanta will do what Brazil has done and say we feel we can have cordial relations with Venezuela and Cuba and the U.S. We don’t have to pick sides.”