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President Putin to visit Latin America in particular moment of its history

Vladimir Putin will visit Mexico and Chile soon, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Russian President will visit the region at the time when it is under heavy pressure due to global financial instability and US attempts to wrap up a free trade deal.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed the information on President Putin’s plans to visit Latin America at Ecuadorian Foreign Minister’s visit to Moscow, and also said that Putin's future visit to Mexico City and the APEC forum in Chile is a proof of  Russia’s improving ties with the region.

On his visit, Vladimir Putin will see Latin American nations in a particular moment of their short history. The region is trying to come out from a decade of draconian pro-market policies that left half of its population (some 300 millions) below the poverty line. Brazil, Mexico and Argentina (Latin America’s three largest economies) have their public sectors devastated by privatizations, dismantlement of their industries and social security systems.

However, things are changing. Putin will find a number of center-left coalitions ruling most of the Latin American nations, especially in South America. With a populist former Army official ruling Venezuela; a former trade union leftist leader ruling Brazil, a socialist as Head of the Chilean State; and a center-left leader elected President of Argentina, many in the White House warned on a “Marxist” turn in the region.

Not so long ago, U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde warned the White House of a new “axis of evil” in America’s backyard. That was a couple of months before Lula Da Silva’s victory in Brazil. Mr. Hyde said Lula would add another link to the chain of hostile leaders stretching from Cuba through Venezuela and down to Brazil, as urged the White House to educate Brazilians about the dangers of choosing a “pro-Castro radical” like Lula, who had the potential to join Venezuela’s populist president, Hugo Chavez, as a threat to the civilized world.

On the contrary, most of the “leftist” new Latin American leadership, even when represented by individuals with radical backgrounds, has proven itself pragmatist willing to stick to orthodox economic principles and play by accepted international rules. Although some may advocate European-style social democracy instead of unfettered U.S. capitalism, their actions reflect none of the extremism predicted by US advisors.

Notwithstanding, all of these nations, including Mexico, voted – and protested - against US invasion of Iraq and Israeli atrocities in Palestinian territories. Furthermore, they refused to send troops to Iraq under US command, as opted to support UN multilateral approaches on world events, a position firmly encouraged by Russia.

All in all, Vladimir Putin’s visit to Latin America, whenever it takes place, will be a great opportunity for both sides to improve both political and economical ties almost broken since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Hernan Etchaleco