José R. Cárdenas, foreignpolicy.com [Cárdenas was acting assistant administrator for Latin America at the U.S. Agency for International Development in the George W. Bush administration.]
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After a rather moribund period in U.S.-Latin relations under the Obama administration ... we shouldn’t have to wait for a new administration to catch up with the changing dynamics in our hemisphere. There is plenty the Obama administration can do in its final months to re-energize hemispheric relations.
For example, rather than ordering his Cabinet and sub-cabinet officials out to flog his narrow and likely futile Cuba initiative, President Obama should aim higher by launching an energized public diplomacy campaign to reach out to like-minded governments, civil society, and the private sector in the Americas to engage on a range of practical and pressing issues. These include fighting corruption; promoting political accountability and practical economic solutions for the region; and rallying solidarity with the region’s democrats who are struggling in many cases against abusive governments.
There is still time to identify ourselves with a constructive agenda for the Americas — building something that others want to be a part of — by stressing reforms that protect and promote economic freedom, incentivize entrepreneurship, reduce taxes and regulation on productive sectors, and empower job creators and workers. ...