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Latin America aLatin America and the Caribbeannd the Caribbean

Latin America aLatin America and the Caribbeannd the Caribbean

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Published by Sabrina Der
Latin America and the Caribbean
Latin America and the Caribbean

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Published by: Sabrina Der on Feb 07, 2013
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02/07/2013

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Issue BrIef
T
oo oten Latin America and theCaribbean all o political radarscreens in Washington. Nonetheless,geograph, robust trade and invest-ment ties, strong demographic links,and shared democratic and economic values connect Americans deepl  with the region.In 2013 and beond, the sec-ond Obama Administration and Washington policmakers o allstripes should work to ashion a Western Hemisphere polic thatadvances U.S. national interests, pro-motes democratic and ree-market values, and activel combats crimi-nal and terrorist organizations.
Lad th Way to IncaTad.
Trade liberalization hasopened markets around the world toU.S. goods and services and has cre-ated a level o competition that leadsto innovation, better and less expen-sive products, higher-paing jobs or Americans, and the investment need-ed or long-term economic recover,growth, and continued prosperit.Foot-dragging throughout most o the rst Obama Administration andailure to push hard or congressio-nal approval o ree trade agreements(FTAs) with Colombia and Panamastalled the momentum generatedb previous U.S. Administrationsor more trade liberalization. I President Obama wants to increaseeconomic growth and job creationor Americans in his second term, heshould reassert U.S. leadership o hemispheric trade polic.To do so, the Administrationshould stop demanding unrealisti-call stringent labor and environ-mental standards in connection with the ongoing negotiations o theTrans-Pacic Partnership with 10other Pacic Rim countries includ-ing Canada, Chile, Mexico, and Peru.The Administration should also takeimmediate steps to end egregiousand long-standing U.S. protection-ist policies in the dair, sugar, andtextile sectors.
Back to Baic in Bazil.
Inthe past decade, Brazil has pursuedexport-driven policies that led toappreciation o the
real 
while com-plaining about that ver apprecia-tion and introducing capital controls. While Brazil benetted immensel rom the run-up o commodit pricesin recent ears, it did not take su-cient advantage o the resultingprosperit to continue the reorms o the 1990s.Instead o reling solel on state-owned enterprises and exploita-tion o natural resources, Brazilcould achieve sustainable economicgrowth and productivit more eec-tivel b pursuing economic ree-dom—to include additional privati-zations o state-owned enterprises,liberalization o Brazil’s rigid regula-tor environment, and harmoniza-tion o the countr’s man dier-ent taxation regimes. The Obama
 
 Administration should make thesereorms its top priorit when dealing with Brazil.
Hop o Haiti.
 As the worldnotes the third anniversar thismonth o the devastating earthquakethat struck Port-au-Prince, Haitiis still the poorest countr in the Western Hemisphere—80 percentlive below the povert line and morethan hal the population suers inextreme povert—and its govern-ment remains nearl paralzedb corruption and poor manage-ment. The countr remains heavil dependent on oreign humanitar-ian aid and remittances, but those
Latin America and the Caribbean: A Wish List for 2013
 James M. Roberts and Ray Walser, PhD
No. 3817 | JANUARy 7, 2013
This paper, in its entirety, can be ound at
http://report.heritage.org/ib3817
Produced by the Center or InternationalTrade and Economics (CITE)
The Heritage Foundation
214 Massachusetts Avenue, NEWashington, DC 20002(202) 546-4400 | heritage.orgNothing written here is to be construed as necessarilyrefecting the views o The Heritage Foundation oras an attempt to aid or hinder the passage o any billbeore Congress.
 
2Issue BrIef
| NO. 3817JANUARy 7, 2013
remittances have dropped during theprolonged global economic slow-down. Thus, it is all the more impor-tant or Haiti to increase exports andcreate jobs at home so that Haitiansare not tempted to take to the seas totr to sneak into the U.S.Congress should promoteincreased U.S. agricultural importsrom Haiti b lowering taris andending wasteul U.S. agriculturalsubsidies or commodities suchas sugar. In addition, Haiti shouldcontinue to take advantage o U.S.legislation such as the HaitianHemispheric Opportunit throughPartnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act o 2006 and the Caribbean BasinTrade Partnership Act. Both lawsprovide incentives or dut-reeexport o man Haitian products tothe U.S., such as apparel and textilesproducts.
Ppa o a Pot-Chavz Vnzla.
 Although slated to beginanother six-ear term on Januar 10, President Hugo Chavez appearsto be losing his battle against can-cer. According to the constitution,Chavez’s incapacitation or death willtrigger new presidential elections. While a post-Chavez Venezuela willremain polarized and deinstitution-alized, the next presidential electionshould be ree and air.The Obama Administration isreportedl contemplating restoringrelations at the ambassadorial level.It cannot, however, paper over theadversarial nature o current rela-tions. The U.S. should seek concretecommitments—including a rmrenunciation o terrorism and anagreement on combating narcoticstrafcking—beore sending a new ambassador to Caracas. A strateg o long-term democrac support should ocus on civil societ,outhul democratic leaders, and vic-tims o 
Chavista
misrule. The Obama Administration should also ocus U.S.intelligence capabilities on probingand countering Iranian penetrationinto Venezuela and uncovering themisdeeds o corrupt narco-generalsand high ofcials.
Libty o Cba.
Cuba is in thetwilight o the totalitarian reign o the Castros. Choruses o liberal andbusiness voices in the U.S. demandan end to the Cuba embargo andmore unilateral openness. The blame an absence o progress inCuban–American relations on aband o Cuban–American politicians.The are wrong. The true sourceo non-progress resides in Havana, where the regime is hopelessl wed-ded to a political-economic modeldesigned b 1950s-stle Communistrevolutionaries.Now, with patron Hugo Chavezapparentl ding and the octogenar-ian Castros ading, is not the momentto toss the regime an economicliesaver. U.S. polic should ocusclearl on a genuine transition to anopen, non-repressive, democratic,and economicall ree Cuba, not justa succession to Castro-less commu-nism. The U.S. can oer real polic changes in exchange or genuinereedom o inormation, expression,and travel or all Cubans. The Obama Administration should also pressharder or the release o Americanhostage Alan Gross.
 A Halthy u.s.–Mxicanrlationhip.
Mexico’s
 
ongoing
 
ght against organized crime hascast a doleul shadow over U.S.–Mexican relations. New MexicanPresident Enrique Peña Nieto prom-ises to restore citizen securit andcontinue overhauling Mexico’s policeand judiciar. Oten overlooked inthe U.S. is Mexico’s emerging eco-nomic status—the world’s 11th largestand gathering steam. Serious energ reorms could reverse an alarmingdecline in oil production and tapmassive shale gas deposits.In short, the bilateral relation-ship is strong but not entirel health.President Obama should make ties with Mexico a serious priorit b helping Mexico ght organizedcrime through the Merida Initiative,enhance militar-to-militar ties,and act jointl in troubled Central America. The President needs toassume White House ownership o the ambivalent muddle over mari- juana legalization and U.S. drugconsumption. Real border securit cooperation and immigration reorm with a viable temporar work visaprogram are other prescriptions or ahealthier relationship.
Coalition o th Willing oth Amica.
 Washington cannotdesign a one-size-ts-all polic orthis hemisphere: The aging “Summito the Americas” process that waskeed to achieving a hemisphericFTA has run out o gas. Creation o anew orum or coalition mechanismor America’s best riends in theregion (such as Chile, Colombia, andPanama) along with other nationsseemingl predisposed to workingconstructivel with the U.S. (suchas Brazil, Peru, and perhaps evena post-Kirchner Argentina) candevelop a positive action agenda totackle thorn problems in areas o trade, drug polic, energ, and citizensecurit.Overriding the tire-spinningo the past our ears requires theU.S. to adopt an active strateg that deends American nationalinterests and advances democratic values in the Americas while pro-moting economic opportunit orall and deending the securit o the Western Hemisphere.
James M. Roberts
is Research Fellow for Economic Freedom and Growth in the Center for Internationa

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