Sen. Dodd says 'change is coming' to US-Latin American relations
May 29, 2008 - International Herald Tribune (AP)

LA PAZ, Bolivia: A "change is coming" to Washington that will improve U.S. ties with Latin America, Sen. Chris Dodd said in Bolivia on Wednesday.

Dodd, a Connecticut senator and former Democratic presidential candidate, told reporters that if a Democrat wins this year's presidential election, the United States will "spend more time thinking about our family here in the Americas."

He met with Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera in La Paz to smooth delicate relations between the two nations, but a statement from his office said he was "disappointed" that President Evo Morales had not taken time to join them.

Bolivia is one of Latin America's largest recipients of U.S. aid, although Washington has grown wary of its close ties to leftist governments in Venezuela and Cuba. Morales has harshly criticized U.S. policy in the region.

Dodd, who served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic from 1966-1968, will also visit Argentina and Ecuador. On Friday, he plans to deliver a speech in Spanish before the Andean Parliament, stressing U.S.-Latin American cooperation on security, poverty and energy initiatives, a statement from his office said.
Today on
In desperate times, Burmese turn to their monks
Fishermen in Europe protest fuel costs
Musharraf denies he will step down

Current U.S. policy in Latin America is too narrowly focused on democracy, trade and drug issues — which are important but alone are "insufficient for bringing about the real change that the hemisphere requires," the statement said.

Bolivia is the world's No. 3 producer of cocaine, after Colombia and Peru.