Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues for the 108th Congress [Updated August 22, 2003]   [open pdf - 114KB]

The Latin American and Caribbean region has made enormous strides over the past two decades in political development, with all countries but Cuba led by democratically-elected heads of state. Bush Administration officials maintain that U.S. policy toward Latin America has three overarching goals: strengthening security; promoting democracy and good governance; and stimulating economic development. In contrast, others maintain that the United States has an active policy toward Latin America and point to the considerable assistance and support provided to Colombia and its neighbors as they combat drug trafficking and terrorist groups. They also point to the momentum toward free trade in the region through negotiation of free trade agreements, and to increased bilateral and regional cooperation on security issues. With regard to trade, Congress approved implementing legislation for a bilateral free trade agreement with Chile in July 2003. Congressional oversight also may focus on negotiations for a Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement, scheduled for completion in January 2005, and on negotiations for a free trade agreement with Central America. This report, which will be updated periodically, examines issues in U.S. policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean, focusing especially on the role of Congress and congressional concerns.

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31726
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