US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has highlighted the importance of democracy in Latin America at the start of a five-day tour of the region.
She, on behalf of the US government will attempt to discuss many up-and-coming issues and problems that the US feels may be on the rise. On this
five-day tour Condoleezza Rice has touched down in Brazil, Columbia, Chile and El Salvador. Some of the hot-topics likely to be discussed with these
countries respective leaders are likely to be things like the US initiative for a 'Free-Trade Agreement of the Americas', terrorism and the growing
influence leaders such as Venezuelas Hugo Chavez and Cubas Fidel Castro are gaining.
Speaking in Brazil, Ms Rice said Latin American countries should keep faith with democratic reforms. She criticised Cuba for refusing to accept
reform, and voiced concerns about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. After leaving Brazil, Ms Rice was due to visit Colombia for talks, followed by
stops in Chile and El Salvador.
Speaking in Brazil's capital, Brasilia, Ms Rice told a 400-strong audience that democracy would eventually help ease the deep poverty that affects
much of Latin America.
"In time the blessings of democracy come to everyone who keeps the faith with the principles of democracy," she said.
"Our job has to be as members of this hemisphere to pursue policies that give democracy a chance not just to hold elections but to then actually
provide for its people," Ms Rice said.
The US wants support from Brazil in containing Venezuela's left-wing President, Hugo Chavez, whom it describes as a destabilising influence.
More than half of South America's population is now ruled by left-leaning presidents, all elected in the last six years and seeking to distance
themselves from Washington. Over the past two decades Latin America has turned to democracy and many governments have followed Washington's formula
for economic liberalisation.
But 100 million people there live on less than $1 a day and the region has the most unequal distribution of wealth in the world.
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Could this be the US government starting sweat a little as leftist leaders all around Latin America are taking root and promising their people a
better way of life. My thinking being; that it might just be. As Latin America is becoming more and more involved with international politics. This
can be highlighted by the mainstream news coverage of the Luis Posada scandal that is taking place, whereby both Cuba and more influentially Venezuela
are condemning the Bush administrations (almost) hypocritical dealings with this international terrorist responsible for the bombing of the Cuban
Airliner containing an many of Cubas olympic athletes.
Venezuela and Cuba have also just recently finished the first lot of War-Games... Suggesting that they, themselves are fearing that an invasion of
some kind may be just over the horizon. This coupled with regular anti-US government setiments coming out of Cuba and Venezuela may begin to cause
further still heated discussion. Venezuela and Cuba are forming a tightly-knit friendship with benefits for both parties, something the US government
would preferably prefer to stop in its tracks.
But I think that Venezuela is in a position that grants them quite a bit of lee-way, in regards to how much they can bight into multi-national
interests, and how much more they can step into a Socialist direction - the one thing that grants them this type of 'freedom' is the Oil that
Venezuela is sitting on (them being the worlds 4th largest producer). Venezuela has done some pretty radical things with that oil - probably the
biggest thing was when a number of Oil feilds were nationalised, so the money is going into the government - and the government is spending that on
its people... The wealth being produced by this prized possesion has gone into things like, free and universal health-care and free education. But as
always, only time will tell what the future has to offer - but I think countries like Venezuela are offering the way of the future for human beings as
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[edit on 6-6-2005 by ghostsoldier]