January 15, 2005: Headlines: Congress: Expansion: Sun-Sentinel.com: Senator Nelson encourages Peace Corps in Latin America

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Library: Peace Corps: Congress: Congressional Relations: January 15, 2005: Headlines: Congress: Expansion: Sun-Sentinel.com: Senator Nelson encourages Peace Corps in Latin America

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-13-244.balt.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, January 15, 2005 - 12:44 pm: Edit Post

Senator Nelson encourages Peace Corps in Latin America

Senator Nelson encourages Peace Corps in Latin America

Senator Nelson encourages Peace Corps in Latin America

Florida’s U.S. senators urge Bush to forge ties in Latin America

By Rafael Lorente
Washington Bureau
Posted January 15 2005

WASHINGTON -- Florida's two U.S. senators are training a spotlight on U.S. policy on Latin America, saying Washington needs to pay more attention to its southern neighbors.

During the first term of the Bush administration, critics said the White House's focus on the war on terrorism after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the Iraq war left diplomacy toward Latin America on the backburner.

U.S. senators Bill Nelson, a Democrat, and Mel Martínez, a Republican, both sit on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and plan to use that platform to bring attention to the region.

"The United States has been all too absent in Latin America, and I think we can energize that," said Martínez, who served on Bush's cabinet as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the president's first term.

Nelson, who returned Saturday from a weeklong trip where he met with four countries' presidents, said the United States should continue to negotiate free trade agreements like the one worked out with Chile. But there is more that can be done, he said.

 Bill Nelson

"We only have a few countries in Latin America where we have Peace Corps volunteers," Nelson said. "That's one of the best programs where Americans go as ambassadors. It all has to start with a commitment."

Nelson said he plans to press the issue this week during Senate confirmation hearings for National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice, Bush's nominee for Secretary of State.

While acknowledging that crises like terrorist attacks, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and nuclear issues with North Korea have garnered a lot of attention,Bush administration officials have said they have not ignored Latin America. Officials point to free trade agreements and the $1.6 billion being spent in the region this year to strengthen democracy and fight corruption as examples of Washington's attention.

"President Bush is convinced that the Americas are critically important to our security and our well-being as a nation, and our goal is to build an inter-American community bound together by a shared commitment to freedom, the rule of law and prosperity through trade," said a State Department official, who did not wish to be named. But relations between the United States and Latin America have sometimes been rocky over the past four years. Venezuela's ties to communist Cuba have rankled the Bush administration. And the administration angered Venezuela when it briefly appeared to recognize a new government while President Hugo Chávez was temporarily ousted in 2002. In recent days, Venezuela once again has stirred concern with reports of the countrie's troops used to confiscate some large, private land holdings.

The relationship between Washington and the region also has affected American diplomacy in the rest of the world. Although a vote never took place, Chile and Mexico both appeared ready to buck Washington and oppose the United Nations resolution two years ago authorizing the use of force against Iraq. And Mexico has been sorely disappointed at the lack of an immigration accord with the United States.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has led an effort by countries in the region to diversify their economic and political ties to reduce dependence on the United States. This May, for example, Brazil will host a summit of South American nations and the Arab League in an effort to forge closer economic ties. Latin American nations already have worked to get closer to Europe, China and Russia.

Nelson said that the way to get the Bush administration's attention is to talk about security. During his trip he visited the tri-border area where the frontiers of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina meet, a region that some experts say is being used to raise funds for terrorist groups.

"Where there is poverty, where there is a lack of enforcement of the law, where there is corruption, where there is not the enhancement of the rule of law, terrorism will incubate," Nelson said.

William LeoGrande, dean of the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, and an expert on Latin America, said it is always hard to get Washington to pay attention to places that are not immediate problems.

"It's hard for them to get past the tyranny of the inbox," LeoGrande said. "When you've got crises around the world it's just tough for senior level people to pay attention to routine diplomacy, as important as routine diplomacy may be."

Washington Bureau Chief William E. Gibson contributed to this report. Rafael Lorente can be reached at rlorente@sun-sentinel.com or 202-824-8225 in Washington.

When this story was posted in January 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Coleman: Peace Corps mission and expansion Date: January 8 2005 No: 373 Coleman: Peace Corps mission and expansion
Senator Norm Coleman, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee that oversees the Peace Corps, says in an op-ed, A chance to show the world America at its best: "Even as that worthy agency mobilizes a "Crisis Corps" of former Peace Corps volunteers to assist with tsunami relief, I believe an opportunity exists to rededicate ourselves to the mission of the Peace Corps and its expansion to touch more and more lives."
RPCVs active in new session of Congress Date: January 8 2005 No: 374 RPCVs active in new session of Congress
In the new session of Congress that begins this week, RPCV Congressman Tom Petri has a proposal to bolster Social Security, Sam Farr supported the objection to the Electoral College count, James Walsh has asked for a waiver to continue heading a powerful Appropriations subcommittee, Chris Shays will no longer be vice chairman of the Budget Committee, and Mike Honda spoke on the floor honoring late Congressman Robert Matsui.

January 8, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: January 8 2005 No: 367 January 8, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
Zambia RPCV Karla Berg interviews 1,374 people on Peace 7 Jan
Breaking Taboo, Mandela Says Son Died of AIDS 6 Jan
Dreadlocked PCV raises eyebrows in Africa 6 Jan
RPCV Jose Ravano directs CARE's efforts in Sri Lanka 6 Jan
Persuading Retiring Baby Boomers to Volunteer 6 Jan
Inventor of "Drown Proofing" retires 6 Jan
NPCA Membership approves Board Changes 5 Jan
Timothy Shriver announces "Rebuild Hope Fund" 5 Jan
More Water Bottles, Fewer Bullets 4 Jan
Poland RPCV Rebecca Parker runs Solterra Books 2 Jan
Peace Corps Fund plans event for September 30 Dec
RPCV Carmen Bailey recounts bout with cerebral malaria 28 Dec
more top stories...

RPCVs and Peace Corps provide aid  Date: January 4 2005 No: 366 Latest: RPCVs and Peace Corps provide aid
Peace Corps made an appeal last week to all Thailand RPCV's to consider serving again through the Crisis Corps and more than 30 RPCVs have responded so far. RPCVs: Read what an RPCV-led NGO is doing about the crisis an how one RPCV is headed for Sri Lanka to help a nation he grew to love. Question: Is Crisis Corps going to send RPCVs to India, Indonesia and nine other countries that need help?
The World's Broken Promise to our Children Date: December 24 2004 No: 345 The World's Broken Promise to our Children
Former Director Carol Bellamy, now head of Unicef, says that the appalling conditions endured today by half the world's children speak to a broken promise. Too many governments are doing worse than neglecting children -- they are making deliberate, informed choices that hurt children. Read her op-ed and Unicef's report on the State of the World's Children 2005.
Changing of the Guard Date: December 15 2004 No: 330 Changing of the Guard
With Lloyd Pierson's departure, Marie Wheat has been named acting Chief of Staff and Chief of Operations responsible for the day-to-day management of the Peace Corps. Although Wheat is not an RPCV and has limited overseas experience, in her two years at the agency she has come to be respected as someone with good political skills who listens and delegates authority and we wish her the best in her new position.
Our debt to Bill Moyers Our debt to Bill Moyers
Former Peace Corps Deputy Director Bill Moyers leaves PBS next week to begin writing his memoir of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Read what Moyers says about journalism under fire, the value of a free press, and the yearning for democracy. "We have got to nurture the spirit of independent journalism in this country," he warns, "or we'll not save capitalism from its own excesses, and we'll not save democracy from its own inertia."
RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack
RPCV Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the U.S. consul general in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia survived Monday's attack on the consulate without injury. Five consular employees and four others were killed. Abercrombie-Winstanley, the first woman to hold the position, has been an outspoken advocate of rights for Arab women and has met with Saudi reformers despite efforts by Saudi leaders to block the discussions.
Is Gaddi Leaving? Is Gaddi Leaving?
Rumors are swirling that Peace Corps Director Vasquez may be leaving the administration. We think Director Vasquez has been doing a good job and if he decides to stay to the end of the administration, he could possibly have the same sort of impact as a Loret Ruppe Miller. If Vasquez has decided to leave, then Bob Taft, Peter McPherson, Chris Shays, or Jody Olsen would be good candidates to run the agency. Latest: For the record, Peace Corps has no comment on the rumors.
The Birth of the Peace Corps The Birth of the Peace Corps
UMBC's Shriver Center and the Maryland Returned Volunteers hosted Scott Stossel, biographer of Sargent Shriver, who spoke on the Birth of the Peace Corps. This is the second annual Peace Corps History series - last year's speaker was Peace Corps Director Jack Vaughn.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Sun-Sentinel.com

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Congress; Expansion



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.