By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Thurs. Jan. 16, 2014: Conservative group, The Heritage Foundation, has some New Year advice for the Obama administration – don’t continue to take the Caribbean and Latin America for granted.
Ana Quintana and James M. Roberts, in an article titled: “Latin America and the Caribbean: Congressional Priorities for 2014,” called on the U.S. President to move away from the 2013 mode of taking “for granted U.S. relationships with our many friendly neighbors in Latin America and the Caribbean … while ignoring growing threats to our national security from some countries in the region that are openly hostile to America’s core principles.”
In 2014, they are urging the U.S. government to encourage the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean “to pursue further liberalization of their economies, dismantle expensive bureaucracies, abandon the habits of over-regulation, and seek to attract more job-creating private-sector domestic and foreign investment.”
They also have specific recommendations on Cuba and Venezuela among others.
The Foundation insists the U.S. supports a genuine democratic transition in Cuba.
In true conservative fashion, the two urge the Obama Administration to “remain focused on using sanctions as leverage for a democratic transition and the protection of human rights.”
And HF researchers say the Obama Administration and Congress should prepare for the inevitable collapse of President Nicolás Maduro’s Chavista regime. This they predict “will come when the Venezuelan military finally decides that it has more to lose by sticking with Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked successor (and his Cuban overseers) than it would by ousting him. Venezuela will then be in need of immediate and sweeping reforms.”
“The Obama Administration should also focus U.S. intelligence capabilities on probing and countering Iranian penetration into Venezuela and uncovering the misdeeds of corrupt narco-generals and high officials,” the HF report said.
Additionally, they urge the U.S. to support the Pacific Alliance of Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru, which they claim “provides the U.S. with the best and most viable alternative to the state-centric and anti-American bloc of countries led by Cuba and Venezuela.”
The Foundation also calls for a forging of a stronger relationship with Costa Rica; support Broader and Deeper Economic Reforms in Mexico and encourage reform in Brazil.
“Sustainable economic growth and productivity could be achieved more effectively in Brazil by pursuing a series of reforms focused on economic freedom, including privatizations of state-owned enterprises, liberalization of Brazil’s rigid regulatory environment, and harmonization of the country’s many different taxation regimes,” Quintana and Roberts say. “The Obama Administration should make these reforms its top priority with Brazil.”