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-Press Advisory-

Embargoed until: 8:00 a.m
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Inter-American Dialogue Offers Obama
10-point pragmatic Agenda for Latin America & Caribbean

Washington, DC: The Inter-American Dialogue—the highly regarded Washington-based policy center—today released its recommendations for a new U.S. policy agenda in the Americas. The Dialogue’s ten point agenda is designed to guide the Obama administration through the most important challenges it is likely to confront in Latin America and the Caribbean. It calls for a redirection of U.S. policies to better align them with regional concerns and priorities. The Dialogue emphasizes the highest priority challenge for the United States and every other country in the Americas will be the slumping world economy and its social and political fallout.  Other issues – both problems and opportunities – addressed in the report include the deteriorating security conditions in Mexico and many other countries, U.S.-Cuba relations, immigration reform, the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, Brazil’s growing regional and global influence, Venezuela’s hemispheric role,  and Haiti’s dire situation.

Despite modest improvement over the past two years, U.S. relations in the hemisphere remain near their lowest point since the end of the Cold War. The Dialogue reports that the election of President Barack Obama has opened the way for another chance to build a constructive relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean – but opportunities for change in U.S. policies are constrained by limited resources and more urgent domestic and international challenges. Moreover, after years of disappointment with the United States, Latin American governments are distrustful of Washington and ambivalent about the U.S. role in the region. Yet, the Dialogue concludes that Latin America today may offer better conditions than ever for building a long-term, robust partnership with the United States. The growing assertiveness and independence of Latin America and the Caribbean, combined with the declining ability of the United States to exert authority and shape outcomes in the region, may provide the basis for healthier and more cooperative ties.

The report reflects the views of the Dialogue's membership — which is led by Ricardo Lagos and Carla A. Hills and includes Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Enrique Iglesias, Billie Miller, Eduardo Stein, and Ernesto Zedillo. The Dialogue’s 100 members come from the United States, Canada, and 20 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. They are listed in the report.

The Inter-American Dialogue is supported by private foundations, international organizations, governments, corporations and individual donors.

Media coverage of the report release includes CNN, IPS, Bloomberg, AFP, EFE, El Tiempo (Colombia) Notimex, Telesur, Martí Noticias, El Universal (Mexico), La Prensa Gráfica (El Salvador), La Nación (Argentina), El Nacional (Venezuela) Infolatam, Semana (international), History News Network and Latin Business Chronicle.

Additional Resources

"Second Chance Report" Roll-Out from Inter-American Dialogue on Vimeo