Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues for the 108th Congress [Updated December 20, 2004] [open pdf - 173KB]
"The Latin American and Caribbean region has made enormous strides over the past two decades in political development, with all countries but Cuba having regular free and fair elections for head of state. But several nations have faced considerable challenges that have threatened political stability, including economic decline and rising poverty, violent guerrilla conflicts, drug trafficking, and increasing crime. 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. Some observers argue that the Administration has not been paying enough attention to the region and to instability in several countries. They maintain that the United States, faced with other pressing foreign policy problems like the war in Iraq and the global anti-terrorist campaign, has fallen back to a policy of benign neglect of the region. 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 numerous free trade agreements, and to increased bilateral and regional cooperation on security issues."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31726