When President Barack Obama took office in 2009, he did so with an ambitious agenda of reengagement with our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere. He laid out his vision in a keynote address that spring at the fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago: that the United States' new course in the region would be to seek partnership and collaboration, not confrontation. Two years on, the United States is working to help countries throughout the Americas achieve their own paths as determined by their own peoples.
U.S. policies are based on the premise that our nation has a critical interest in contributing to a stable, prosperous and democratic hemisphere and world. Toward that end, the U.S. is adapting its policies toward individual nations and sub-regions, such as the Caribbean basin and Southern Cone, rather than operating as if political and economic conditions are uniform throughout the region. The U.S. also has launched partnerships that promote social inclusion, cooperation on energy security and climate change, and economic competitiveness and trade.
U.S. success in its regional relations have been furthered by a convergence of two positive and powerful trends. These are first, that market democracies in the hemisphere are making big strides in growing their individual economies to meet the needs of their people; and second, Latin America's growing integration into the global economy, a process aided by the fact that most nations in the region weren't as adversely affected by the global financial crisis as many other around the world.
As a result, regional challenges such as inequality, impunity of power and lack of opportunity have been eased, allowing many nations in the Americas the opportunity to engage on global challenges such as social development, food security and economic competitiveness. The U.S. is committed to being a true partner in these efforts, advancing its own goals in a pragmatic collaboration with its neighbors.