The 5-Minute Briefing: Condoleezza Rice's Tour of Latin America

By Buncombe, Andrew | The Independent (London, England), April 29, 2005 | Go to article overview
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The 5-Minute Briefing: Condoleezza Rice's Tour of Latin America


Buncombe, Andrew, The Independent (London, England)


Why is US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Latin America?

She will visit Brazil, Colombia and Chile, where she was yesterday, and El Salvador. Officially it is a long-scheduled diplomatic visit by the new Secretary of State. But there are growing concerns in Washington that the US is to losing influence in the region after the election of several left-wing leaders. In Brazil, Ms Rice met the left-wing leader President Luiz Incio Lula da Silva and urged Brazil to join the US in what she described as a 'partnership of multiethnic nations' promoting democracy. In a speech she used the words 'freedom' and 'liberty' 16 times and 'democratic' more than 50 times.

Why is the trip controversial?

Many in Latin America are suspicious of the US and its motives after decades of political interference, support of right-wing dictators and undermining of left-wing elected governments. US policy in Latin America has been condemned for undermining the kind of democracy Ms Rice talks of spreading. But for many in Latin America " and increasingly for people from Brazil " the US remains their dream. The number of illegal immigrants entering the US has never been greater.

How has the election of so many left-wing governments affected US relations with Latin America?

Ms Rice recently said the US would have no trouble working with a left- wing government after she was asked about the possible election of a socialist president in Mexico.

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