News Release

Obama in Latin America


President Obama is scheduled to be in Trinidad and Tobago today for the Summit of the Americas.

Mendonça, based in São Paulo, Brazil, is director of the Social Network for Justice and Human Rights. She said today: “The expectation of grassroots movements in Latin America is to change the focus of the debate in multilateral spaces. Our governments tend to focus on access to markets and security issues. We want to deal with the root causes of the current economic, environmental, and food crises, by building international solidarity and hemispheric integration based on people-to-people ties.”

Professor of history at New York University, Grandin is the author of Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism. In a recent article, he wrote: “This week many will be watching to see if Barack Obama, in what will be his first real engagement with Latin America, is ready to reverse course at this summit as Roosevelt did more than three-quarters of a century ago.”

Grandin added: “To the United States, Latin America has not just been a source of raw materials and markets, but a ‘workshop,’ a place where rising foreign-policy coalitions try out new ways to project U.S. power following periods of acute crisis. FDR did it, as did Reagan and the New Right when, in the 1980s, they used Central America to experiment with junking multilateralism, while remilitarizing and remoralizing foreign policy.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020 or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167