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Is Trump or Clinton the Lesser of Two Evils for Latin America?

By: Carlos Sabino - @Sabino2324 - Oct 5, 2016, 11:05 am
(America Herald) Estados Unidos
What policies and actions will both US candidates implement toward Latin America? (America Herald)

Presidential elections in the United States are approaching, and it increasingly seems less likely that a third candidate may prevent the triumph of one of the two traditional parties.

Choosing between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump is not easy. Both have serious limitations and shortcomings that make it difficult to even opt for the lesser evil.

What policies and actions will both candidates implement toward Latin America?

Donald Trump is a man of aggressive words, who exhibits a nationalism which at times is similar to those of populist or fascist leaders that have emerged recently in Europe. He wants Mexicans to build a wall along the border, and promised massive deportations.

Moreover, he has talked about the possible imposition of tariffs on foreign trade, a protectionist policy that can lead to terrible economic consequences worldwide. The mogul has won a lot of support because, regardless of what we consider “politically correct,” he uses an honest and direct language that expresses what many American citizens really think.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, promises to continue to increase the government’s presence in the daily lives of people, especially with regard to social security. But many see her as too attached to partisan commitments.

With Trump in the presidency, the US would be in constant internal conflict because of the presence of those millions of Latin Americans who currently live in the country, or who want to immigrate there, either legally or illegally.

But Trump may change the US policy toward Cuba, undoing or limiting the current agreements that have only served to strengthen the Castro dictatorship on the island. It is also likely that Trump would limit the interference of his ambassadors in internal affairs of our countries, especially in Central America.

This is the weakest spot of Clinton’s candidacy. She will surely follow the current guidelines of the US foreign policy toward the region, which is wrong and harmful in many ways.

The State Department, under the presidency of Barack Obama, continues to insist on acting in favor of human rights, but these actions are completely out of focus. US ambassadors in Guatemala, for example, insist on pursuing the military who fought against the subversion in the past. They defend destabilizing organizations, and focus much of their action in combating drug cartels.

None of these points is vital for the country. Manipulated trials against the army chiefs who defeated the Marxist insurgents only serve to convict innocent people, and open old wounds that were either closed or about to heal.

Their support for progressive non-profits generates obstacles to the development of the country, and encourages initiatives which, due to its leftist character, only serve to increase poverty and slow Latin America’s growth.

There’s no criticizing their determined fight against corruption and drug trafficking. However, the actions of the US ambassador in Guatemala Tod Robinson have surpassed all limits. He has openly stated that it is legitimate to intervene in the country, thus neglecting Guatemalan independence.

A change in the ruling party of the United States would bring, at least for several countries, a possible relief to some of their difficulties. They would do much better with less intervention.

Carlos Sabino Carlos Sabino

Sociologist, writer, and university professor, Sabino is director of the masters and doctoral programs in history at the University of Francisco Marroquín, Guatemala. Follow him @Sabino2324