Does the US still see Latin America as its backyard? Or has the balance of power shifted south?

"Somebody has given us this great power to influence events and we're going to continue to influence events in the way that they have been over the last 50 years," says Otto Reich, the former US assistant secretary of state, who was at the heart of US foreign policy towards Latin America under three Republican presidents.

What I used to joke at that time is, if I had something to do with the coup it would probably have turned out differently!

Otto Reich

In this episode of Head to Head, Mehdi Hasan challenges Otto Reich, whom many Latin Americans saw as the personification of US interference in the region.

Otto Reich served under presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush and George W. Bush. A strong critic of the new wave of left-wing Latin American leaders, he supported the Nicaraguan Contras in the 1980s and was assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere during the 2002 coup attempt against the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Born in Cuba in 1945, he is a champion of the US anti-Castro community and believes the Cuban embargo is still essential to bring change to the island. But after 50 years of failure, will the embargo ever deliver this change?

Joining the discussion are John Dew, the former British ambassador to Colombia and Cuba; Julia Buxton, a specialist on Venezuela and the War on Drugs at the Central European University in Budapest; and Francisco Dominguez, the head of the Latin American Studies Centre at Middlesex University and secretary of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.

To watch this episode on Youtube click here 


Source: Al Jazeera