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Rediscovering South America

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In presenting the U.S. National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement the Clinton Administration states that, The unprecedented triumph of democracy and market economies throughout the Latin America region offers an unparalleled opportunity to secure the benefits of peace and stability and to promote economic growth and trade. We remain committed to extending democracy to all of the regions people still blocked from controlling their own destinies. Our overarching objective is to preserve and defend civilian-elected governments and strengthen democratic practices respectful of human rights. Thus, as Latin America emerges from the lost decade, the United States is enthusiastically optimistic about the future of the region. However, this optimism must be tempered by the knowledge that the progress toward South American democratic market economies, defended by civilian controlled militaries, could be undone. As the United States looks forward to the 21st century it is imperative that its policy toward South America take a higher and more consistent profile than have the crisis-based policies of the past. This policy must focus on adding depth to the 34 democratic, free market, nations of the Western Hemisphere. Also, U.S. policy must patiently and consistently work to bring freedom to Cuba, the single remaining non-democratic state in the Western Hemisphere. In short, the goal for the next decade is to strengthen the depth of democratic governments, free market economies, and civil control of the military throughout Latin America, using multilateral partnerships and bilateral relationships as outlined in the four policy initiatives in this essay. These policy initiatives capitalize on the historic opportunity presented to the Americas, spurred by the end of the Cold War, to set in place a vision of democratic peoples for the future and to manage the transition to these ends.

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  • Government and Political Science

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