A little late, perhaps, U.S. President, Barack Obama, will turn his gaze to the south and begin a visit today to three Latin American countries that includes Brazil, Chile and El Salvador, with the avowed purpose of countering the popularity of the Bolivarian Revolution and other sovereign and independent processes that occur in the region.
Nevertheless, this is undoubtedly a delayed trip because during his election campaign he made promises for new relationships with our countries, and that seemed to be the case when he attended the Summit of the Americas held in Trinidad and Tobago, just after being elected president.
Such purposes, however, were fragile as paper and as early as June 2009 it was clearly shown that in practice there is no change in the US concept of “backyard,” coined for the Latin American and Caribbean nations in the halls of Washington. When a coup against the president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya occurred, the northern nation supported by its “Ministry of Colonies”, the Organization of American States, played a dirty role, nothing different from what a republican government would have done.
It would not be entirely unreasonable, therefore, to think that Obama planned his Latin America tour for the second half of his mandate, hoping that the open wounds in Honduras had healed a bit to find a less hostile environment, although he knows he will face repudiation acts organized by popular groups in various parts of his visits.
The point is that there are still several sensitive points unresolved on his agenda, including the thorny case of undocumented immigrants who suffer persecution and harassment in the United States.
The promised Immigration Reform stayed has not been achieved and it is even more unlikely now that the House of Representatives is dominated by Republicans, and Democrats hold just a slim advantage in the Senate.
On the contrary, raids have been increased in a rather subtle way during Obama’s term. There is less police deployment and propaganda seen during the Bush administration, but the consequences are demonstrated by the dramatic increase in deportations, which broke all historical records in 2010.
No one should be filled with illusions and think that this situation will improve in the short or medium term, and even if we listen to the phrase Immigration Reform, this will only be in campaign speeches for the 2012 elections.
It will be difficult then for the US president to revive feelings of affection for a country that has only created unfortunate events for our people. Exploitation and robbery of resources, aggression of all kinds and armed invasions, and flagrant betrayal are still fresh in the collective regional memory with no positive proof or will to change this grim history.
This is evidenced by the aggressive speech against members of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America, or ALBA, whose influence Obama will unsuccessfully try to fight against during his trip, the attitude of someone who is believed to be the master, reminding us constantly of his presence and influence.