News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Nov. 9, 2012: Several Caribbean and Latin American heads of state were quick to extend congratulations to U.S. President Barack Obama, following his victory on Tuesday night.But while Caribbean leaders hoped to strengthen links with the U.S., some Latin American leaders used the moment to also endorse immigration reform.
In an election where neither Latin America nor the Caribbean played a role, Latin leaders were quick to point to the voting power of their Diaspora in helping the President secure a second and final term.
“Ecuador congratulates President Barack Obama on his victory and asks him to always remember the significant Latino vote,” Ecuador’s Deputy Foreign Minister Marco Albuja said.
Guatemalan President Otto Perez pressed Obama to act on his country’s request to include Guatemalans in the Temporary Protected Status programme, which allows migrants from designated countries to legally stay in the United States for a period of time.
“We hope that the next government will follow through on the TPS request and stop the mass deportations,” Perez said, referring to the expulsion of more than 33,000 Guatemalans between January and October.
Bolivian President Evo Morales said Obama should reward Latinos.
“We were told Obama won in the United States, but with the Latin American vote, with the Latino immigrant vote,” the leftist leader said.
“Now, how will he pay back the Latino migrants?” Morales added.
Mexico’s president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto, who takes office next month, on December 1, however, steered clear of the immigration issue in a congratulatory tweet to Obama, saying he would work with him “for the benefit of our nations.”
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, questioned about Obama’s victory, only made the shape of a heart with her hands and gave a thumbs-up while Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner called Obama’s victory “flawless.”
Mexico’s president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto, who takes office next month, on December 1, steered clear of the immigration issue in a congratulatory tweet to Obama, saying he would work with him “for the benefit of our nations”.
Obama’s congratulatory tweets poured in from other nations, including tweets from Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, Haiti’s President Michel Martelly and the president of the Republic of Chile, Sebastián Piñera.
Colombian President Santos on Thursday interrupted a public event in Bogota to take a telephone call from just re-elected U.S. counterpart Barack Obama, who expressed his interest in “tightening” relations with Colombia.
The Colombian leader, who was delivering a speech at a Bogota club, asked those present to give him “just a moment” to speak with Obama.
“I apologize to you … but, speaking about the international area, President Obama is going to pay us a great tribute and … among the five countries who are going to talk with him to congratulate him he wants the first Latin American country to be Colombia, and here is the telephone,” Santos said before speaking with the U.S. leader.
Antigua & Barbuda Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, in his message on Obama’s victory, highlighted the “excellent longstanding relationship” between Antigua and Barbuda and the United States, pointing out that it is based on the “shared principles of good governance, strong social policies, and respect for the rule of law.
In her message, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said that under President Obama’s leadership, Jamaica looks forward to the “continued strengthening of the special bonds of friendship which exist between our two countries as we seek to build a brighter future for both our peoples.”
While St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil L. Douglas told President Obama that he is hopeful that the longstanding and excellent relations between the United States and St Kitts and Nevis and indeed with the entire region, “will be strengthened even further through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative and similar cooperation programs.”
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said “we are sure in his next four years as President of the United States that the bonds of friendship would be strengthened” while Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that he wanted Washington to re-direct its focus in the Caribbean to developmental issues.
“Clearly, the US focus is on anti terrorism matters and they moved away from issues relating to development in the region. But I am hoping that the new term of President Obama there would be some kind of re-direction towards developmental issues,” Skerrit said.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Kamla Persad Bissessar, in a brief message texted to a local newspaper, said Obama had “earned his re-election” noting “he remained grounded in the politics of hope and delivery to the people.
“Congrats President Obama, Obama lives on,” she added.
In Guyana President, Donald Ramotar, said he hopes “that our two countries will enjoy even stronger relations and I look forward to working with you towards achieving this objective as well as in the advancement of initiatives for the security and development of the people of our hemisphere.”