President Obama's neglect of Latin America is about to end, unless the federal government shuts down over the budget battle and he is forced to postpone his scheduled trip next week. Obama attended the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad, but has not visited any of the other nations of the region. It's the usual and customary practice of all U.S. presidents of neglecting those countries and peoples who live in our own neighborhood because of other pressing concerns in more "important" regions of the world. I've always believed that you should help your neighbors first, and wonder why we spend many billions of dollars each year in aid to Israel and Egypt (not to mention to fund our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), while we fail to take advantage of the natural affinity many Latin Americans have for the United States. Stupid policy with inevitable results.
A "Marshall Plan" for the Americas would be less expensive than neglect in the long run, and would help our neighbors grow and prosper, the best way to undermine fanatics, ideologues and revolutionaries.
Here's Obama's planned agenda for the three countries on the itinerary. http://americasquarterly.org/node/2296 The decision to visit Brazil, Chile and El Salvador indicates a nuanced and sophisticated understanding of the changes underway in the region. That's likely to be the result of having a Chilean-American as sub-secretary for Western hemisphere affairs.