Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues for the 108th Congress [Updated May 5, 2003] [open pdf - 97KB]
"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. For more details and discussion, see the listed CRS [Congressional Research Service] products after each section. 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. But several nations face considerable challenges that threaten 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 such countries as Argentina and Venezuela. 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 free trade agreements, and to increased bilateral and regional cooperation on security issues."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31726
United States. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers, Bureau of Public Affairs: http://www.fpc.state.gov/