Obama faces skeptical leaders at Americas summit

By REUTERS
April 10, 2012 16:42

 
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BOGOTA - Three years after being feted by star-struck Latin American leaders, US President Barack Obama faces skepticism and disappointment at this week's Summit of the Americas for failing to meet promises of a new era in relations with the region.

Obama's first meeting with leaders from the hemisphere in Trinidad and Tobago at the height of his popularity included a vow to mend ties with Cuba and a photo-op handshake with Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president and pugnacious US critic.

This year, Obama is more focused on re-election than foreign policy and is set to receive a grilling over contentious issues like the drugs war, Cuba and even US monetary policy from heads of state eager to remind him that Washington is growing less relevant for the region.

"The deception and disappointment are quite real," said Hal Klepak, a Canadian history professor and Latin America expert. "The last summit's focus was the 'Obama show,' this time what we have are years of nothing happening."

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