From The New York Times:
The Opinion Pages | EDITORIAL
In Latin America, Quiet Diplomacy Bears Fruit
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD. Aug/13/2015
Nearly seven years ago, President Evo Morales of Bolivia expelled the American ambassador, denouncing him for “conspiring against democracy and seeking the division of Bolivia.” Months later, Mr. Morales’s government kicked the Drug Enforcement Administration out of La Paz, in a rebuke of Washington’s approach to counternarcotics in the region. In 2013, Bolivia ejected the American government’s international aid agency, which Mr. Morales accused of working secretly to destabilize his government.
On Tuesday, after a meeting with the top American diplomat in Bolivia, Mr. Morales appeared eager to get his country’s relationship with the United States on a better footing, noting approvingly that Washington has engaged in constructive diplomacy with Iran and Cuba. Bolivia “can’t be sitting on the sidelines,” Mr. Morales told reporters.
It is highly unlikely that Washington and La Paz will become close allies anytime soon. Bolivia is among a handful of Latin American countries that have forged a regional identity that is largely based on standing up to the United States. But in recent months, Mr. Morales and other Latin American leaders with frosty ties to Washington have begun to recognize the benefit of engagement, much of it transactional.
This shift is the result of discreet and pragmatic American diplomacy that in recent years has begun to alter the image of the United States as an overbearing, entitled neighbor. It got a forceful boost in December when President Obama announced his decision to normalize relations with Cuba. On Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry will formally reopen the American Embassy in Havana, after 54 years.
“I think this is the beginning of people having different types of conversations, conversations that were impeded by this 50-year-old, stupid policy,” said Joy Olson, the executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America, a nonprofit human rights group. “The potential is much bigger than anything we’ve seen so far.”
In recent months, the United States has also started to mend fences with Brazil, the hemisphere’s second-largest economy, particularly after President Dilma Rousseff visited Washington in June. The relationship with the Brazilian president turned sour in 2013, following revelations that the United States had been eavesdropping on her.
Washington’s relationship with Venezuela appeared to be in a downward spiral earlier this year, gripped by a mood reminiscent of the period before the rupture of diplomatic relations with Havana in 1961. To avert the “Cubanization” of relations with Caracas, Thomas Shannon Jr., a senior aide to Mr. Kerry, held meetings with senior Venezuelan officials, which helped both sides dial down public criticism and begin exploring limited, mutually beneficial areas of cooperation, such as regional health policy.
These diplomatic efforts in a region that is being heavily cultivated by China, which is financing several projects and has substantially expanded trade, are smart and necessary. Credit goes to Roberta Jacobson, the State Department’s top official for Latin America policy, and other career diplomats who have been practical in their approach to the region. Mr. Obama’s opening with Cuba has made it far more likely that the shift toward more cooperation will gain traction.
The Sao Paulo Forum has failed bit time, but not early enough to prevent the ridiculous waste of billions of dollars by the hands of the Chavez/Maduro, Castro, Kirschner, Ortega, Correa and infamous Morales. This photo is from Brazil, from last weekend when riots sprouted, please notice that the sign in the middle, not only Dilma is asked to leave power but all the other demagogues as well.
Now that Brazil is going after Lula/Rousseff corruption, that Maduro has completed the destruction of Venezuela, as Chavez intended… the Castro brothers turned their back on their “ideology/discourse” and decided to trash the melodrama and ongoing demagogue speech against the “imperialism”.., that alone, prompted egocentric Morales to think about establishing relations with the USA. [cartoon shows Castro junior abandoning Maduro, saying “doing fine, go on”]
The coca grower has no discourse, only reacts to whatever the Castros or the Maduros of the world will ask him to do… and the fact that easy money, from export prices have dramatically fallen down… as any other populist in the world needs … money, so what better than to turn to the USA.
What infuriates people like me is that these “leaders” have wasted, in the case of Bolivia, over $150 billion dollars and still want to remain in power indefinitely!