Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela push back on US operations.
The goal is continuity in international relationships with a clear break from Bush’s approach.
A spirit of cooperation is tested ahead of a crucial series of meetings to prepare for a Nov. 15 US summit.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suspended a trade deal with Bolivia last week for failure to rein in coca growing. Some 50,000 jobs could be lost.
The region is affected by global downturn, but more prepared this time thanks to greater foreign reserves and less external debt.