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Jon Schwarz

Jon Schwarz is editor of MichaelMoore.com and was research producer for 'Capitalism: A Love Story.' He's also contributed to the New Yorker, New York Times, Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, Slate, Saturday Night Live and NPR.

July 3rd, 2013 4:00 AM

A Look Back at Obama's 2009 Words to Latin America

After the U.S. demanded that France, Spain, Italy and Portugal close their airspace to the plane of Bolivian president Evo Morales, it's worth taking a look back at what Obama said at the April, 2009 Summit of the Americas in his first major address to the people and leaders of Latin America:

All of us must now renew the common stake that we have in one another.  I know that promises of partnership have gone unfulfilled in the past, and that trust has to be earned over time.  While the United States has done much to promote peace and prosperity in the hemisphere, we have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms.  But I pledge to you that we seek an equal partnership. There is no senior partner and junior partner in our relations; there is simply engagement based on mutual respect and common interests and shared values.  So I'm here to launch a new chapter of engagement that will be sustained throughout my administration…

I didn't come here to debate the past -- I came here to deal with the future…

I think it's important to recognize, given historic suspicions, that the United States' policy should not be interference in other countries…

I pledge to you that the United States will be there as a friend and a partner, because our futures are inextricably bound to the future of the people of the entire hemisphere.  And we are committed to shaping that future through engagement that is strong and sustained, that is meaningful, that is successful, and that is based on mutual respect and equality.

The behavior of the U.S. toward Morales, which has infuriated leaders across the hemisphere, should come as no surprise. By 2010 even Lula, the relatively moderate president of Brazil, had lost all faith in the Obama administration:

Speaking to reporters at a breakfast meeting in the capital Brasilia, Lula lamented that the election of President Barack Obama had brought little change to the "empire's" approach on Latin America.

"Nothing has changed in the US vision of Latin America, which makes me sad," he said.

(Thanks to John Caruso for his post on Obama and Latin America.)

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