Latin America and the Caribbean: Key Issues for the 113th Congress [February 15, 2014] [open pdf - 575KB]
"Geographic proximity has ensured strong linkages between the United States and the Latin American and Caribbean region, with diverse U.S. interests, including economic, political, and security concerns. U.S. policy toward the region under the Obama Administration has focused on four priorities: promoting economic and social opportunity; ensuring citizen security; strengthening effective democratic institutions; and securing a clean energy future. There has been substantial continuity in U.S. policy toward the region under the Obama Administration, which has pursued some of the same basic policy approaches as the Bush Administration. Nevertheless, the Obama Administration has made several significant policy changes, including an overall emphasis on partnership and shared responsibility. U.S. policy toward the region is conducted in the context of a Latin America that is becoming increasingly independent from the United States. The region has diversified its economic and diplomatic ties with countries outside the region. Over the past few years, several Latin American regional organizations have been established that do not include the United States, including the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) designed to boost regional integration and cooperation. While to some extent CELAC's establishment reflects declining U.S. influence in Latin America, the United States still remains very much engaged in the region bilaterally and multilaterally. A looming challenge for the United States, however, is how to deal with the next Summit of the Americas, scheduled to be hosted by Panama in 2015. Several Latin American leaders have pledged that they will not attend if Cuba is not invited."
CRS Report for Congress, R42956
U.S. Department of State: http://fpc.state.gov/