Top Priorities for U.S. Policy Toward Latin America and the Caribbean in 2016

In 2016, Congress has a unique opportunity to improve America’s foreign policy toward Latin America. For the first time in the 17-year rule of Venezuela’s Socialist Party, the opposition has taken control of the National Assembly. As part of the anticorruption movement sweeping the region, former Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina was peacefully forced to resign after his alleged role in a government-run graft and bribery scheme.

Yet, not all developments in the region are encouraging. Both citizen and economic insecurity continues unabated in Central America’s Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras). Coming upon their fourth year, the peace talks between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC), a narco-terrorist group, continue to weigh heavily in the FARC’s favor, standing to jeopardize the successes of Plan Colombia. Additionally, there is the ineffectiveness of President Barack Obama’s radical new policy on Cuba. 

To uphold U.S. national interests in Latin America and the Caribbean, Congress should; Prevent President Obama’s Cuba opening from financially benefiting Cuba’s regime. Effectively address the insecurity crises in Central America’s Northern Triangle. Ensure a responsible conclusion to Colombia’s peace talks with the FARC. And stand up to Venezuela’s authoritarian government.

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