What Did Pence Accomplish on His Latin America Trip?

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Among the stops on U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Latin America last week was Colombia, where he met with President Juan Manuel Santos. // Photo: White House.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence last week visited South and Central America, where he sought to reassure the region following comments from President Donald Trump of a possible military intervention in Venezuela, as its government teeters on the brink of dictatorship. Pence also looked to strengthen diplomatic, economic and security ties with U.S. allies in the region, including Argentina and Colombia. Was Pence successful in his damage-control efforts following Trump’s threats of military intervention? What does Pence’s visit signal about U.S. foreign policy priorities in the region? How strong will Latin American ties with the United States be during Trump’s presidency?

Erich de la Fuente, partner and CEO for the United States at Llorente & Cuenca: “Latin America is not likely to be of strategic importance for President Trump, given the number of pressing foreign policy issues in other parts of the world. In the absence of specific initiatives, the administration’s foreign policy will likely be shaped by the positions it adopts on the main three pillars that have driven U.S. foreign policy in the region since the late 1980s: free trade, security and soft power, including democracy and good governance. This administration will scrutinize trade agreements that it does not consider ‘favorable’ to the United States. When dissecting the numbers, the United States shows an overall trade surplus with Latin America, when Mexico is excluded. NAFTA is likely to undergo changes, but other treaties in the region will continue without many or any modifications. Not coincidentally, Pence visited countries where he was able to promote trade and send a signal of collaboration to key allies in the region, reiterating his now often-used message that ‘America First does not mean America alone.’ Security will continue to be a top priority, with a stronger emphasis on…”

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