Enjoyed this evening’s Latin America (L.A.) session as well as welcoming our three new attendees David Jones, Ines Mueller, and John Nelson.

We covered lots of topics today. Here is a summary of some of them:

  • The seemingly full democratic countries in L.A. are Cosa Rica, Uruguay, and maybe now Chili. However, It is all a “point of view”.
  • The U.S. remains classified as a flawed democracy due to the high level of polarization (functioning of government and political culture).
  • The Monroe Doctrine (1823) to free L.A. from European influence was the beginning of the drift between the U.S. and L.A., followed by the 1904 Roosevelt Corollary.
  • The perceived influential countries according to a survey by the L.A. population are: U.S. 40.8%, China 20.3%, other nations or no response 38.9%). Latin American countries do not have a bad history with China as they do with the U.S.
  • Impact of China in L.A. relative to the belt & road initiative. This initiative is welcomed but the accumulation of debt is unknown.
  • Are the Left-wing governments in L.A. different (if any) from left-wing governments in the U.S.: The left-wing governments in L.A. are much more far left than they are in the U.S.
  • The nature or populist leaders in L.A.: They can be typically on the left or the right, but those in L.A. are typically on the far left.
  • Cuba and why we continue with the sanctions even though there is proof that they don’t work: The Cuban-American population in Florida has a large influence on the election results in that state and they do not want to see normalized relations with Cuba until the lands they lost can be restored.
  • The U.S. policy in L.A. has two categories: (1) The things we cannot change such as the Latin American elections, and (2) the things we can change such as the Latin American perception of the U.S.A. This may seem like a tough ask, but there is no reason why the U.S. cannot show interest in L.A. and its economy to a greater extent than today. There is also not reason why the U.S. cannot have normal relations with a socialist country.
  • Why do we still require visas for Brazilians to enter the U.S. (and vice versa) even though we have OK relations and good economic exchanges with Brazil.
  • The drug issue in L.A. is a result of the supply and demand in the U.S. In other words, the U.S., by not legalizing the use of drugs, is a main reason for the black market drug business.
  • The plight of migrants into the U.S. is another major topic that needs to be resolved.
  • The social healthcare in the socially leaning countries such as Canada and Europe has a much higher ranking than that in the U.S., which is ranked 27 globally. The healthcare system in L.A. is socially driven but it does not provide adequate benefits.

Nest week’s discussion is on Global Famine. Here is the video