Atlanta, GEORGIA (CNN) - Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain thinks that the current “anti-Americanism” felt in Latin America exists because the U.S. has been ignoring the region, the Arizona Republican said Wednesday.
In a speech in Palm Beach, Florida, McCain also said that he “will not passively await the long overdue demise of the Castro dictatorship.”
McCain believes U.S. leaders and media have focused most of their attention on the Middle East and in the meantime “dangerous forces” have slipped into Latin America. With Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez following Fidel Castro’s lead of “embracing authoritarianism” McCain says we are creating a “recipe for disaster.”
“Hugo Chavez has used the cloak of electoral legitimacy to establish a one party dictatorship in Venezuela, breathed new oxygen into the decaying Castro regime in Cuba, allied with Iran and other American enemies, and supported populist, anti-American forces throughout the hemisphere,” said McCain in a speech to the Florida Association of Broadcast.
McCain has big plans for Latin America. He called for more U.S. assistance to Latin American governments to increase security over land, sea, and air and also to bolster the electoral process and trade.
"Our security priority in this hemisphere is to ensure that terrorists, their enablers and their business partners, including narcotraffickers, have nowhere to hide," he said.
McCain drove it home that we need to create a “democratic hemisphere” and change how we have treated Latin America in the past, which was as a “junior partner rather than as a neighbor, like a little brother rather than an equal. Latin America is not our backyard; Central and South America are not ‘beneath’ the United States.”
–CNN Political Desk Assignment Editor Marissa Muller