The 2020 United States presidential campaign is already in full swing in Latin America. Four hot-button issues that helped propel President Trump to the White House in 2016 are already coming into play in his approach with the region, and they are being driven by two parallel electoral strategies: appeals to his political base nationwide on immigration, drugs and trade, and a hard sell directed at South Florida on Cuba and Venezuela.
Since he announced his candidacy in 2015, Mr. Trump has treated Mexico as a proxy and scapegoat, particularly on immigration and trade, two issues on which he promised a radical policy shift. Calls to build “the wall” on the United States-Mexico border became shorthand for a tough, aggressive stance on these issues that reliably rallies and excites Mr. Trump’s hard-core supporters.
But closing down the border, as the president threatened to do recently, would hurt both countries and cause irreparable damage to what is arguably the United States’ most crucial relationship. On Thursday, under pressure from Republicans in Congress, he backed off that threat, only to issue another one: “We’re going to give them a one-year warning, and if the drugs don’t stop or largely stop, we’re going to put tariffs on Mexico and products, particularly cars.”
Until now, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico has done a great deal to accommodate Mr. Trump, including working out an updated Nafta agreement and allowing Central American refugees to remain in Mexico while their asylum claims are being adjudicated. The move to close the border will test the limits of Mr. López Obrador’s forbearance. On March 29, the Mexican foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said on Twitter: “Mexico does not act on the basis of threats. We are a great neighbor.”
Perhaps just as outrageous, Mr. Trump also announced that he would cut aid to the three countries of Central America’s so-called “Northern Triangle” — Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — citing their failure to curb the continuing mass outflow of migrants headed for the United States.
This move has led some to speculate that Mr. Trump is seeking to deepen the crises in these countries, which could result in exploding migration flows and that could pose a “real” national security crisis on the United States-Mexico border, thus justifying the president’s hard-line policies and providing a powerful campaign issue.
It remains to be seen whether Mr. Trump even has the authority to cut off congressionally appropriated funding, or if he’ll follow through on these threats. But the announcement understandably left the governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador bewildered, having done everything to accommodate the United States.
The Guatemalan and Honduran governments sought to curry favor with the Trump administration by moving, or considering moving, their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem. Mr. Trump’s announcement is particularly insulting to El Salvador’s incoming president, Nayib Bukele. On a recent visit to Washington, Mr. Bukele unveiled a much tougher policy on Venezuela and pledged to review the outgoing government’s decision to break with Taiwan and recognize China — both diplomatic wins for the Trump administration. Moreover, there is evidence that United States assistance is helping reduce migration from El Salvador.
On the drug question, too, the president is posturing to shore up his political base for the campaign. The Colombian president, Ivan Duque, recently met with Mr. Trump and vowed to pursue a United States-backed strategy to bring down rising levels of coca production. But that wasn’t enough. Mr. Duque was reportedly taken aback when Mr. Trump told reporters, “he (Duque) said how he was going to stop drugs. More drugs are coming out of Colombia right now than before he was president — so he has done nothing for us.” The title of an article that ran in the Colombian weekly magazine, Semana, was telling: “With Friends Like These.”
The Colombian president deserves better treatment. Mr. Duque has been the Trump administration’s most steadfast regional partner in pressuring the regime in neighboring Venezuela. His government is struggling to cope with over 1.3 million Venezuelans who have fled to Colombia. As the United States presidential campaign picks up steam, United States-Colombia ties are in danger of becoming “re-narcotized,” which would undermine efforts in recent years to broaden the bilateral agenda.
The Trump administration’s approach toward Venezuela and Cuba should be distinguished from issues of nationwide concern such as immigration, drugs, and trade. Still, there is little question that domestic politics, largely focused on South Florida, is a key element helping to shape policy. More ideological factors, advanced less by Mr. Trump himself and more by his national security adviser, John Bolton, and Marco Rubio, the Florida senator, are also relevant.
The Trump administration’s sustained pressure on the Venezuelan dictatorship, carried out in concert with hemispheric and European allies, has rightly provided badly needed support for a democratic transition to a beleaguered Venezuela. But the United States’ agenda in Venezuela is tightly linked to the administration’s pursuit of regime change in Cuba, as Mr. Bolton has repeatedly made clear. Though in Latin America there is no love lost for the Cuban regime, the region is more cautious about Cuba than Venezuela. Most Latin Americans consider the past six decades of United States policy toward Cuba (aside from the two-year opening under Obama) to be a failure and strongly oppose any new threats and punishments.
To be sure, infelicitous phrases by Mr. Trump and other senior administration officials like, “All options are on the table,” and, “I wish Nicolás Maduro and his top advisers a long, quiet retirement, living on a nice beach somewhere,” may draw cheers, help deliver votes, and generate money in a critical swing state in 2020. But they also evoke possible military action and, as a result, risk weakening or dividing the broad coalition that has been forged on Venezuela.
To preserve this coalition — a major asset for the United States’ Venezuela policy — the Trump administration needs to keep its posturing for electoral purposes in check. Invoking the “socialism” boogeyman in Venezuela as a way to attack the Democratic Party for its health care and New Green Deal proposals shows how the hemisphere’s worst crisis could be used in the presidential campaign.
It would be naïve to call for a moratorium on theatrics as November 2020 looms. Playing on domestic politics with Latin American issues may work for President Trump as he pursues a second term. Still, it is crucial not to completely lose sight of the national interest, which means investing wisely in Central America and cooperating closely with Mexico. Mr. Trump needs to stick with the broad coalition on Venezuela, eschew any suggestion of military action there and any reference to regime change in Cuba.
These issues should command bipartisan support. If not handled well, they could have consequences for the United States policy in the region for decades to come.
Michael Shifter is the president of the inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank focused on Western Hemisphere affairs.
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“【突】【厥】【党】”【的】【几】【个】【组】【织】【头】【目】“【弃】【城】”【逃】【跑】，【带】【走】【了】**【里】【大】【部】【分】【的】【武】【装】【反】【抗】【力】【量】，【只】【剩】【下】【小】【部】【分】【人】【还】【在】【顽】【强】【反】【抗】，【但】【看】【情】【形】，【被】【消】【灭】【也】【就】【是】【个】【迟】【早】【的】【问】【题】。 【第】【五】【六】【小】【队】【的】【人】【员】【还】【在】【外】【围】【突】【破】，【剩】【下】【的】【四】【队】【也】【有】【要】【坚】【守】【的】【任】【务】，【追】【逃】【兵】【的】【事】【自】【然】【落】【在】【了】【莫】【君】【烨】【和】【慕】【长】【安】【身】【上】。 【慕】【长】【安】【的】【目】【标】【从】【头】【至】【尾】【只】【有】【阿】【卜】【杜】【拉】2017年62期开奖号码“【砰】！”【震】【耳】【欲】【聋】【的】【一】【声】【巨】【响】，【宛】【若】【大】【地】【都】【颤】【抖】【了】【几】【分】。 【光】【明】【川】【几】【人】【脸】【色】【变】【得】【惨】【白】，【耳】【膜】【仿】【佛】【要】【被】【炸】【裂】【开】【了】。 【左】【以】【娜】【惊】【恐】【地】【想】【要】【叫】【出】【声】【来】，【但】【像】【是】【被】【人】【遏】【住】【了】【喉】【咙】【一】【样】，【咕】【隆】【了】【几】【下】，【双】【脚】【发】【软】，【跪】【坐】【在】【了】【地】【上】，【双】【手】【捂】【住】【了】【耳】【朵】。 【好】【难】【受】，【好】【痛】【苦】……【一】【呼】【一】【息】【难】【受】【得】【很】，【空】【气】【都】【仿】【佛】【变】【得】【炽】【热】【了】【起】【来】，
“【冤】【枉】，【冤】【枉】【啊】！” 【听】【到】【白】【术】【的】【话】，【想】【到】【刚】【才】【自】【己】【所】【承】【受】【的】【痛】【楚】，【迷】【彩】【男】【子】【身】【体】【激】【灵】【灵】【打】【个】【寒】【颤】，【挣】【扎】【着】【跪】【在】【地】【上】【对】【着】【白】【术】【哐】【哐】【磕】【头】。 【一】【边】【磕】【头】，【迷】【彩】【男】【子】【一】【边】【痛】【哭】【流】【涕】【地】【大】【叫】【道】：“【苍】【天】【在】【上】，【这】【一】【次】【我】【绝】【对】【没】【有】【再】【欺】【骗】【你】【了】【啊】，【我】【是】【真】【的】【把】【全】【部】【的】【秘】【法】【内】【容】【都】【背】【诵】【了】【出】【来】【啊】！” 【如】【果】【不】【是】【金】【手】【指】【没】【有】【传】
【凉】【凉】【月】【色】【河】【畔】，【有】【惊】【鸟】【从】【一】【旁】【的】【林】【间】【突】【然】【跃】【起】【腾】【飞】，【惹】【得】【好】【事】【人】【侧】【目】【一】【视】，【但】【却】【看】【不】【出】【什】【么】【热】【闹】【来】。 【谢】【云】【舒】【手】【放】【在】【一】【旁】【的】【树】【干】【上】【悄】【悄】【地】【挠】【了】【挠】，【心】【里】【有】【些】【乱】【糟】【糟】【的】，【虽】【然】【一】【时】【冲】【动】【将】【人】【留】【下】【来】，【但】【说】【实】【话】，【她】【并】【未】【想】【好】【应】【该】【怎】【么】【说】，【或】【者】【说】【什】【么】【才】【好】，【临】【到】【头】【才】【有】【些】【懵】【逼】【什】【么】【的】，【太】【悲】【催】【了】。 “【还】【没】【想】【好】？”
【西】【洲】【荒】【漠】，【曦】【月】【浑】【身】【血】【迹】【累】【累】【的】【倒】【在】【一】【棵】【枯】【木】【的】【阴】【影】【下】。 【一】【群】【被】【血】【腥】【味】【吸】【引】【过】【来】【的】【蜥】【蜴】【张】【着】【长】【满】【利】【齿】【的】【大】【嘴】，【吐】【出】【长】【长】【的】【信】【子】，【向】【着】【曦】【月】【围】【拢】【上】【来】。 “【月】！”【曦】【虚】【弱】【的】【呼】【唤】【着】，【她】【已】【经】【无】【力】【掌】【控】【身】【躯】【了】。 【知】【识】【任】【凭】【她】【的】【呼】【唤】，【月】【依】【旧】【毫】【无】【反】【应】。 “【又】【一】【个】【禁】【地】，【又】【一】【次】【死】【里】【逃】【生】，【呵】【呵】，【苏】【瑶】【说】【暮】【雪】【应】(来源：赵昚)