The US remains the top trading partner of many countries in the region, with exceptions including Brazil and Chile, where China has recently taken its place.
During the presidential debates, Romney had called Latin America a “huge opportunity” for the US economically. However, the region was far from a hot topic in the election and seldom garnered mentions by the candidates — although one pro-Romney television ad in Florida had played up Chavez’s pro-Obama comments.
Ahead of the vote, some commentators in Latin America had complained that Obama and Romney were so similar in their foreign policy stances that the result did not matter much.
A recent front-page cartoon in Argentina’s Pagina12 newspaper summed up such complaints, showing a conversation between two bearded men. One remarked: “What difference is there between Republicans and Democrats?” The other answered: “Both bomb you, but the Democrats afterward feel just a little bit bad about it.”
Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose relations with the US have been testy since he expelled the US ambassador and US drug agents in 2008, noted that Latino voters were a key force in helping Obama win.
“Obama needs to recognize and pay that debt to the Latinos,” Morales said.