Obama seeks to revive ties with Latin America

Obama seeks to revive ties with Latin America

U.S. President Barack Obama will travel to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador from March 19 to 23 in a bid to strengthen U.S. ties with Latin America, Xinhua reported.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Tuesday that "this trip is very focused on economic opportunities for the United States and trade relationships."

On Feb. 18 when announcing Obama's Latin America tour, Carney said it "will provide an opportunity to engage key bilateral partners, to highlight the president's engagement with the hemisphere, and to advance our efforts to work as equal partners to address the basic challenges facing the people of the Americas."

During his visit, Obama will meet with leaders of the region to analyze a variety of different topics, including economy prosperity, job creation through increased trade, energy and security cooperation and issues of common concern.
As one of the world's major emerging economy, Brazil will be the most important stop of

Obama's tour.

Political experts said Obama's visit to Brazil could be important in promoting bilateral ties which were downgraded in the last two years due to several factors, notably the country's diplomatic support toward Iran.

Brazil's new President Dilma Rousseff obviously has stepped back from some of her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's policies on Iran, and has cooperated more with Washington in order to resolve the political crisis in Haiti.

According to U.S. sources, during their meeting, Obama and Rousseff will discuss cooperation plans on renewable energy, aid for Haiti's reconstruction and security issues, as well as U.S. aid for Brazil, which will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 summer Olympic Games, both in Rio de Janeiro.

In Chile, meanwhile, Obama is scheduled to present a speech for the Latin American region, which, according to U.S. Ambassador to Chile Alejandro Wolff, "reflects the excellent cooperation that we have had with Chile."

Among the topics on the agenda will be a memorandum on cooperation in civil nuclear energy, nuclear security, free trade, environment and education.

In 2010, the U.S.-Chilean two-way trade volume reached 18 billion U.S. dollars, which has been attributed to the free trade agreement signed between in 2004, Wolff said.

Director of the Latin American Faculty of Social Science (FLACSO) Andres Solimano told Xinhua that Chile was included in Obama's trip for being "a country with political, economy and social stability."

El Salvador will be the last country Obama will visit.

Obama is expected to discuss with Salvadorian President Mauricio Funes Central American issues such as migration, security and poverty.

Funes has said the migration issues will be the most pressing topic and that he is satisfied with Obama's commitment on making migratory reform one of the most important aspects to be discussed at the U.S. Congress

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