Looking Back: Bush's Foreign Policy Toward Latin America

Latin America and the Caribbean

Yesterday National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley spoke at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he looked back on the "core convictions that have formed the basis of President Bush's foreign policy - what this administration has accomplished in key regions of the world - and what opportunities and challenges await the next administration." While his reminiscence spanned everything from the war in Iraq, to Russia, to relations with Europe, Hadley also revisited President Bush's policies toward Latin America. His remarks on the region are quoted below. Hadley's entire address at CSIS can be read here.

In the Western Hemisphere, President Bush confronted the challenges of a region where many had begun to doubt the benefits of democracy and freedom. The President's strategy has been to help democratic governments in the region better serve their people -- and demonstrate that democracy can deliver and that freedom is the path to prosperity and a better life. Under President Bush's leadership, the United States has renewed its commitment to social justice in the region. We've pledged $2 billion for new initiatives to improve access to health care, education, affordable housing, and economic opportunity. We have helped lift the burden of more than $3 billion of debt. We've negotiated free trade agreements with 10 nations, including two agreements awaiting approval from Congress. We've pledged $1.3 billion to help Mexico and Central American nations fight organized crime networks and drug traffickers. We are helping Colombia defeat the FARC and other narco-terrorists. We have formed an important strategic partnership with Brazil. And we are working with states like Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay to showcase the benefits of markets, democracy, and freedom -- as the alternative to competing visions based on populist rhetoric, statist economics, and authoritarian politics. The commitment of these states represents an important opportunity for the new administration. As a good first step, the new Congress should approve the free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama -- as well as South Korea. And the most dramatic opportunity for advancing America's agenda in the hemisphere would be for the new administration to work with Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform -- and build an immigration system that is compassionate and fair.