: Let’s Confront
s a new president prepares to take office
in the U. S., this seems like a good opportunity to
evaluate both the progress that has been made
and the challenges that remain in the relationship between the U.S. and Latin America, with
an eye toward the future we face together.
The world is ripe for a renewed and strengthened multilateralism, and the support of the
U.S. will be decisive.
There is no doubt that our region’s relationship with the U.S. is imperative. We share a common geography as well as common values, such
as democracy, liberty and respect for human
rights. This shared perspective will help us to
tackle together the many global and regional
problems we face. If there is a common denominator, it is that for all these global challenges,
global solutions are needed.
The current global landscape is quite different from two decades ago. Globalization has
deepened, and the world is moving toward new
forms of governance. The U.S. continues to be
the world’s major power. At the same time, the
European Union’s influence is steadily increasing, and a handful of developing countries are
consolidating into political and economic pow-ers with a truly global reach. This means that
the multilateral institutions designed more
than six decades ago—essentially the UN and
the international financial institutions—are
increasingly inadequate for the management
of today’s global challenges.
If those institutions are not democratized
and redesigned to reflect today’s diverse and
complex political environment, they will not
be able to provide the kind of governance we
need in the twenty-first century.
Today’s reality calls for a reformulation of
the way in which we find solutions. We are optimistic. The recent past shows that the U.S.-Latin
America relationship can move forward along
a path of mutual understanding and common
effort. In the early 1990s, the U. S. and the region
embarked on a fruitful process of rapprochement, through which we managed to transform
a traditionally distant—and at times hegemonic—relationship into a cooperative one.
Certainly there have been limitations, but
we have also reached unprecedented levels of
hemispheric cooperation. This suggests what
can be achieved in the future.
We must work quickly and we must work
together. The longer we wait, the more costly
the solutions. I am convinced that Latin America
and the U.S. can be partners in this endeavor.
There are many challenges. One is climate
change. If we are unable to stop global warming, the effects will be irreversible for humanity
and, indeed, for life on Earth. Just as important is concerted action in areas such as the