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Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, spoke in an interview with The Washington Post Podcast regarding the challenges the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will face in Latin America, given the current socio-political climate in the Americas. Shifter acknowledged that Blinken gave a positive diagnosis of the region and emphasized the importance of being realistic regarding US relations with Latin America.
COMENTÁRIOS DE MICHAEL SHIFTER:
Question (Q): In Quito, Antony Blinken said he was there to listen with humility, as the United States has much to learn from its neighbors. Blinken recognized that his country has not always practiced in Latin America what they claim, and that in some moments in history, have supported governments that did not respect human rights in that region.
Answer (A): “Well, I believe that we must recognize that the Secretary of State made a good diagnosis of the region and has good intentions. I also think it is important to recognize that this is a welcomed change from Trump, in the Trump years, when he had very ideological beliefs and only focused on three countries: Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. While Blinken is interested in the rest of the region, which I find very important.”
“Certainly, the issues that he has raised are somewhat similar to Obama, a blend of the challenges the region faces, a bit scattered, without a defined direction in a strong narrative. However, he is different from Obama, since the situation is more complicated now, both in Latin America and the United States. It is harder to implement policies now compared to five years ago.”
“At this moment there was no pandemic, the region was not shaken by protests as it is today, there were fewer populist governments, more support towards democracy, fewer Venezuelan refugees, which have significantly increased over the last five years, and even other countries that Blinken has been to, Ecuador was in a state of emergency due to crime and drug trafficking. And Colombia as well, with serious problems involving a highly polarized state. And of course, in the United States as well, as we have a lot of polarization, a toxic political environment and major inequalities, complicating the potential to implement policies that support the region in the issues Blinken has raised.”
“Therefore, I do not think this will be an easy task, but I believe that in spite of all the difficulties and limitations, it is possible to accomplish useful and meaningful actions on these issues. We must be more modest, we must be more realistic, and recognize that the environment, both in that region and in the United States, has not been easy these days.”