Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Goin' South

President Bush will be leaving for a much-needed trip to Latin America tomorrow, stopping off in Brazil, Uruguay, Columbia, Guatemala, and Mexico. Lots of things to discuss - ethanol agreements, trade, and our favorite LatAm topic, illegal immigration.

Hugo Chavez, upset that the "Devil" from the North is invading his turf, is planning a counter-trip timed with Bush's. (How do you counter a trip? Perhaps Hugo is trying too hard here.) Chavez has been dumping money all over Latin America in the hopes of dominating the entire region like he dominates his own country with his socialist agenda. He's not about to let all his hard work (i.e., threats, killings, deportations, incarcerations, confiscations, etc.) go down the drain because President Bush is in town.

The fact that Chavez has been able to claim the hold that he has is in part our own fault. We have failed to make better progress in relations with Central & South America, and we have often ignored the problems that have festered there and drifted north into our own country.

However, it's not to late to change things. Chavez can't wantonly throw money around forever. Sooner or later his economy will crack under the strain. And his own neighbors realize that he wants to dominate them, not work alongside them. They need a counterbalance. Bush's trip couldn't have come soon enough.

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