Next January 20, Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States, once the electoral college confirmed his victory in the elections of last November 3. However, his policy towards Latin America remains unknown and is generating expectations all over the region.
The Latino vote was a determining factor in the election results in key states such as Florida and Texas (where Latinos mostly voted for Trump) and Nevada and Arizona (where the Latino vote went for Biden).
As Barack Obama’s vice president, Biden traveled almost 20 times to Latin America and was part of the driving force behind the U.S. Congress’ approval of $750 million in cooperation funds for the region.
In El Pitazo, we took a look at the promises and challenges for Latin America once Biden becomes president of the United States:
Biden showed concern about the flow of immigrants from Latin America to the United States. He said they take a broader approach to the problem of immigration and for the region in general.
Another promised was to address poverty and violence as the root causes of migration and instability.
During his debate with Trump, Biden pointed out as criminal the Republican policy for separating immigrants families on the border with Mexico.
Biden opposed continuing the construction of the wall that Trump unsuccessfully promoted on the border with Mexico and promised to restore the United States “as a safe place for refugees and asylum seekers,” according to the BBC in October.
Biden’s advisers said their plans include taking up the fight against corruption in Latin American countries.
Challenges and outstanding issues
One of the elements that characterized Donald Trump’s mandate was the language against some countries. Biden must decide whether to maintain the tone and policies toward those countries, like Cuba and Venezuela.
After the U.S. media deemed Biden the winner of the election, Michael Shifter, president of the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue, considered it “unlikely” that the Democrat could revive the failed policies of the Obama years towards Cuba and Venezuela.
In the case of Venezuela, Shifter said that the situation has worsened since Obama left the presidency, so now it is time to evaluate new foreign relations with Venezuela, especially the closeness to Iran in addition to ties with Russia, China, and Cuba.
The president of the Inter-American Dialogue hopes for less “aggressive and insulting” language from Washington under Biden. With Mexico, for example, experts anticipate that Biden will seek to maintain good relations because of the need for bilateral cooperation in several areas.
Relations with Brazil could become more important because of policies to slow down global warming.