Biden’s Plans for Latin America

Joe Biden plans to spearhead a repudiation — in policy and tone — of President Trump’s legacy in the region.
Biden’s Plans for Latin America: End ‘Bully Dictating Policy’
“Of all the crisis spots around the world, I had come to believe that Central America held the best opportunity,” Mr. Biden wrote.
Mr. Biden, the administration’s top troubleshooter for Latin America, logged thousands of miles in trips there, building relationships with Central American leaders — and helping convince Congress to pass in 2015 a $750 million aid package for the region.

Drawing on his experience in Central America, Mr. Biden and his team of foreign policy advisers have created plans for the region that are both a repudiation of Mr. Trump’s hardball approach and an attempt to resurrect Obama-era initiatives.
Mr. Biden and his team of experts, which includes immigrants from Latin America, say they would take a broader approach to the immigration issue — and to the region. They also say they would address poverty and violence, the root causes of migration and instability, by bringing back a push against corruption and investing in job creation and improved governance.

And in a region where the former vice president feels the United States has long been regarded as a “bully dictating policy to smaller countries,” as he wrote in his book, a Biden White House would work more through persuasion than imposition, several advisers said in interviews.
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Biden’s Plans for Latin America: End ‘Bully Dictating Policy’
If elected, Joe Biden plans to spearhead a repudiation — in policy and tone — of President Trump’s legacy in the region.

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Joe Biden’s plans for Latin America, if he wins the election, are both a repudiation of Mr. Trump’s hardball approach and an attempt to resurrect Obama-era initiatives.
Joe Biden’s plans for Latin America, if he wins the election, are both a repudiation of Mr. Trump’s hardball approach and an attempt to resurrect Obama-era initiatives.Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times
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By Ernesto Londoño
Oct. 27, 2020
RIO DE JANEIRO — Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden admits it was a contrarian view in the Obama White House.

During its final years, when the administration was beset by North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, Russia’s belligerence in Ukraine and wars in the Middle East, Mr. Biden argued for tackling a predicament closer to home: the violence and poverty that was causing large numbers of migrants, many of them children, to flee from Central America.

It was an intractable problem, but one the United States could resolve, he said in his memoir, “Promise Me, Dad.”

“Of all the crisis spots around the world, I had come to believe that Central America held the best opportunity,” Mr. Biden wrote.

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Mr. Biden, the administration’s top troubleshooter for Latin America, logged thousands of miles in trips there, building relationships with Central American leaders — and helping convince Congress to pass in 2015 a $750 million aid package for the region.

Drawing on his experience in Central America, Mr. Biden and his team of foreign policy advisers have created plans for the region that are both a repudiation of Mr. Trump’s hardball approach and an attempt to resurrect Obama-era initiatives.

Image
Mr. Biden in Guatemala in 2015, after meeting with Central American leaders about a wave of child immigrants going to the U.S.
Mr. Biden in Guatemala in 2015, after meeting with Central American leaders about a wave of child immigrants going to the U.S.Credit…Johan Ordonez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Mr. Trump’s focus in the region has been on throttling back the flow of immigrants and drugs through harsh enforcement means and threats of imposing economic pain on neighbors. Under one of Mr. Trump’s most controversial policies, immigrant parents and their children were separated at the border — and now, the parents of 545 children can’t be found, according to court documents.
As a starting point, Mr. Biden is proposing a $4 billion aid package for Central America to address the causes of unauthorized migration and help defuse a third rail in American politics.
A Biden White House would also, according to advisers, seek to rally the region around commitments to rein in global warming, an imperative that has already antagonized the government of Brazil, one of the most consequential actors on environmental policy.

And Mr. Biden’s advisers say they would seek to revive the anti-corruption campaign that set off political earthquakes across the Americas starting in 2014, but largely stalled in recent years.
In a Biden administration, his advisers say, the United States would once again retire the Monroe Doctrine, a 19th-century policy under which Washington said the Americas was its exclusive sphere of influence and that attempts by overseas powers to intervene would be considered a hostile act.

Excerpts from NY times