The difference between Democrats and Republicans on Brazil
Engaging with Brazil is far more important to the hemisphere than Cuba or Venezuela, writes guest blogger James Bosworth. But US-Brazil relations have not been prioritized by Republicans.
• A version of this post ran on the author's blog, bloggingsbyboz.com. The views expressed are the author's own.Skip to next paragraph
Does Ecuador's leader aspire to a perpetual presidency?
Trading wellness tips, Brazil's community workers plug primary health gaps
Report puts Guatemala national police under the microscope
Peace in Brazil's favelas? 5 challenges facing police units
Venezuela legislator stripped of congressional seat. What's next for the opposition?
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
One thing the Obama administration has done correct in this hemisphere is a major increase in engaging Brazil. Just this month, the assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere gave a speech on US-Brazil relations, Deputy Secretary Burns visited Rio, and the undersecretary for arms control was in Brazil to discuss that specific topic. There is cooperation on a number of economic, development, and security issues that rarely makes the media but takes up a lot of time and energy for both countries.
Could more be done? Absolutely. Should we do more to avoid embarrassing contract screwups right before major presidential visits? Probably.
That said, President Obama's engagement with Brazil has gone beyond any previous president. He has welcomed Brazil as a rising global power and treated it as an equal in major international negotiations.
If you're looking for one big difference between President Obama and Governor Romney on Latin America policy, US-Brazil relations may be it. The Romney foreign policy white paper contains zero references to Brazil and it has not been mentioned in any GOP debate. Obama discussed the importance of Brazil during the 2008 campaign and has more than delivered on engaging with the country. It's unclear right now whether a Republican administration would do the same. If the Republicans win this year, my opinion is that it's likely there would be a backsliding on US-Brazil relations as their priorities shifted to other concerns like Venezuela and Iran.
As an analyst and consultant, I often stress that understanding and engaging with Brazil is far more important to the hemisphere than Cuba or Venezuela or Colombia. That should be obvious given the population and economic strength of the country, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the US political debate or most commentary on the region.
Get daily or weekly updates from CSMonitor.com delivered to your inbox. Sign up today.
The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of Latin America bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here.