Photo: President Obama prepares to visit Latin America
Despite earlier speculation that, due to the current unrest in the Middle East and the fear of nuclear disaster in Japan, President Obama might not travel to Latin American, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, “The trip is still on. The president will be going…”
President Obama will leave for Brazil on Friday, and looks to advance U.S. foreign policy and revive its economy. He will also travel to Chile and El Salvador.
“You have to remember that economic growth in the United States is the president’s top priority,” said Carney. “This trip is very focused on economic opportunities for the United States and the trade relationship.”
The president and his family are scheduled to visit Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, and San Salvador while in Brazil. These locations were chosen to shine a light on the economic and trade issues as well as take a step toward energy and cooperation.
U.S. officials have taken notice of Latin America’s economic improvements in recent years, with the deputy national security advisor for international economic affairs Mike Froman saying, “There has been tremendous progress in this region economically over the last decade or so. It is playing an increasingly important role in our economic well-being.”
“This trip fundamentally is about the US recovery, US exports, and the critical relationship that Latin America plays in our economic future and jobs here in the United States.”
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, after speaking in Washington with Antonio Patriota, Brazil’s foreign minister, had a look at President Obama’s agenda for his trip, and said, “We are cooperating closely and our bilateral work on issues and global challenges, including food security and human rights, and clean energy and global inequality, is key to both of us and we will explore even additional ways to pursue our common interests and our common values.”
Chile will be the president’s second stop, and is expected that he will give a regional speech on the March 21st. It is also believed that Obama will ask Chile to take more discernible role in Latin America, and be an economic role model for other countries, as well as defender or democracy and human rights. Chile has previously been hesitant to boast about it’s democratic ways, as it did not want step on the toes of its neighbors.
The American president’s final stop will be El Salvador. The country is not as solid as Chile and Brazil and is hoping to gain the support of the U.S.. The main point of discussion will be the regional security issue and, together, working on solutions to the problems of drug trafficking, gangs and organized crime, said El Salvador’s ambassador to the U.S. Francisco Altschul.
Though an overwhelming majority of media will be focused on other international news, these three Latin American countries will likely take advantage of the president’s time, and look to redefine their relationships with the U.S.