President Barak Obama ends his four years in January with free trade and security, particularly in Central America, as pending issues to develop in Latin America, said Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jackson in a press round with foreign correspondents.
An integral migratory reform is another of the pending issues despite the fact it is not strictly a foreign policy matter, added Jacobson making a quick outline of the Obama administration performance towards the hemisphere.
Next 6 November the US electorate will be voting for president and the partial renewal of Congress, “and obviously we expect to continue and certainly there is much on what to continue working”.
A solution to the migratory issue would have an ‘extremely positive’ impact in relations with the hemisphere, admitted the diplomat. “It’s a critical issue that the President is intent in achieving and extremely important”.
Jacobson also talked about negotiations for a Trans Pacific Partnership, TPP, which includes eleven countries and recently confirmed the incorporation of Mexico. “We believe the next step is a commitment to free trade”.
The official also underlined that Chile, Peru, Canada and no Mexico constitute a “solid presence” of the western hemisphere in the TPP negotiations for that free trade initiative, which the US sees is as “the next generation of trade agreements to increase global exchanges”
The Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said in the televised debates with President Obama that the great target in relations with Latin America is to open more trade negotiations.
Jacobson said that the continuation of the security programs in Mexico and Colombia have been a success and revealed that “we have had very good discussion with the next government of President Peña Nieto”.
Official contacts between the incoming administration in Mexico and the government of President Obama have been the source of much speculation in Washington.
However Ms Jacobson admitted that “we are all disappointed for not having achieved more in Central America”. Homicide rates in countries such as Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have been among the highest in the world.
“We have a clear challenge there and the same with the Caribbean security initiative” added Ms Jacobson. After four years with different security programs in the region “we have started to have a clear idea of what is working and what is not working”
Finally Ms Jacobson said the US would like to see more changes in Cuba, but did not advance on any migration strategy modifications until the Castro brothers’ regime implements the latest measures which make it easier to travel overseas.
“We can’t say if we will need more staff in Havana because we don’t know what the level of demand will be”, said the State Department official.