HILLARY CLINTON; HARD CHOICES: BOOK ANALYSIS. CHAPTER 12: LATIN AMERICA: DEMOCRATS AND DEMAGOGUES. Hillary did recommend that the President end the embargo on Cuba before she left office.
Hillary points out in this chapter that 40 percent of our exports go to our two closest neighbors Canada and Mexico. (What the point of that is I am not sure as Canada was in the mix.) Latin America is made up of 36 countries mostly democracies and 600 million people. The middle class is expanding and the GDP is more than $5 trillion.
Democracies predominate in Latin America. Cuba and Venezuela are the major exceptions.
During the cold war Latin America was a battle ground between the Soviet Union and ourselves; most prominently in Cuba with its attempts to export communism and use as a Soviet base.
Other major problem countries have been Venezuela under Hugo Chavez and Nicaragua under Daniel Ortiz.
Mexico despite its drug problems (ninety percent of all drugs used in the U.S originate or pass through Mexico and ninety percent of the guns used by the narco cartels come from the U.S.) has made huge economic strides during and since the Presidency of Felipe Calderon. The middle class has grown dramatically. Calderon built 140 tuition free universities for his people.
The U.S. and Mexico have cooperated in the fight against the narco syndicates. Mexico extradited nearly two hundred fugitives to the U.S, and nearly two dozen high level drug dealers were captured or killed due to improved intelligence and targeting. Further the FBI has stepped up the arrest and prosecution of cartel members operating in this country.
Hillary expects that Mexico like Columbia will defeat its drug cartels and continue to make economic improvements allowing its people better lives. (It seems that the drug business moved to Mexico after things became too hot in Columbia. Cocaine after all originates in Bolivia and Peru and Mexico is the last country before entry into the U.S. One wonders exactly where it is refined into powder. It seems unlikely that the leaves themselves are transported to Mexico so the refining process has to take place in some other country as does the process of turning poppies into heroin.)
Hillary fails to point out Mexico has benefited by the North American Free Trade Act mostly at the expense of the American factory worker when the factories they worked at moved to Mexico in search of cheaper labor. However the major loss of jobs to the American worker is due to the rise of China as an industrial state with cheap labor.
Brazil is a power house economy and economic development is growing. In fact it has one of the fastest growing economies in the World with a rapidly expanding middle class.
The combined economies of Latin America are greater than that of Russia.
Hillary devotes a long passage about how she blocked Cuba’s entry into the Organization of American states on human rights issues and the fact they were not a democracy. These issues are ones that resonate in the new millennium since communism is no longer a threat.
The President did formally resume diplomatic relations with Cuba and lifted some restrictions on travel, money transfers and other things in exchange for two American prisoners and three Cuban spies.
Not mentioned was the fact communism is now a discredited economic system and Castro has nothing to export to other Latin American countries. Also Russian influence has waned since they no longer support the Cuban economy. Thus there is no significant threat of communist expansion in Latin America any longer.
Future developments in this area await the test of time as there will be a change of leadership when Fidel and Raul Castro and the other aging revolutionaries pass the reins of power to a younger generation. Hillary does not discuss this eventuality.
Hillary did advise President Obama before leaving office to end the embargo but this takes legislation to change the previous Acts. Obama took the steps he could legally do under his executive authority.