Santos and Obama

Last week, Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos visited Washington to meet with his friend Mr. Obama. The talks, reportedly a success, covered a wide range of topics; economic relationships, education, regional security, and Columbia’s peace talks with Marxist rebels all found their way on to the agenda.

Meeting for the second time since Santos took office in 2010, Obama praised Columbia’s push for peace in the region and also pointed to the success of the U.S-Columbia trade agreement that has increases trade between the two nations by about 20%.

This could potentially be big news for international relations. The U.S has a history of working to build a tight and productive relationship with Latin America. In fact, JFK started the Alliance for Progress initiative that specifically worked to better this relationship while he was in office. Some have argued that this relationship has frayed over the years due to the U.S’ need to turn elsewhere in the world, namely the Middle East. Because of this, Santos brought the idea of forging a new alliance similar to the one built by JFK up to President Obama during the meeting.

Time will tell if this positive momentum will reinvigorate relations with the region.

Should the U.S focus more on relations with Latin America or is it a distraction that takes away awareness from other current U.S interests? 

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