The U.S., which once considered Latin America its own backyard, is having an increasingly tough time calling the shots in a region where countries like Brazil and China are vying for influence, and where even tiny Honduras stands up to the “Colossus to the North.”

While the U.S. remains the dominant player in Latin America, its clout is curtailed by several factors, including Brazil’s rise as a regional power, the influence of a clique of anti-American nations led by oil-rich Venezuela, and the growing muscle of China, which sees Latin American resources as key to its own economic growth.

Latin America

Associated PressAt a recent protest in Caracas, a Chavez supporter’s sign reads: ‘We don’t want the empire’s boot in Latin America.’

Latin America

The Obama administration, though popular in much of the region, has found itself squabbling over a host of issues, from Cuba to the U.S. military’s use of bases in Colombia to how best to resolve the Honduran crisis.

Honduras stood firm on the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya. The U.S. and other foreign governments pressured the interim government to let Mr. Zelaya serve out his term, which ends in January. But the provisional government hung on long enough to hold Sunday’s presidential election without reinstating Mr. Zelaya.

Honduras’s refusal to buckle startled the U.S., which has historically cast a long shadow over the country — the original “banana republic,” where through much of the 20th century, American fruit companies exerted enormous influence on governments. In the 1980s, Honduras served as a base for U.S.-backed Contra rebels fighting the Sandinista government next door in Nicaragua.

Analysts say the Obama administration and many Latin American nations underestimated how strongly Honduras’s provisional government felt about the threat posed by Mr. Zelaya, a close ally of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez.

“Everybody underestimated just how widespread the fear of Chavismo — rightly or wrongly — was in Honduras,” says Michael Shifter, vice president for policy at Inter-American Dialogue, a think tank in Washington.

Resenting their historic dependence on the U.S., Latin American countries complain when it ignores them, but condemn what they see as American interference — all the while looking to the U.S. for answers to Latin American problems.

Contradicting the U.S. used to be “unthinkable,” said Moises Starkman, who serves as an adviser to the interim government and also advised Mr. Zelaya. But “we felt our whole system was hanging in the balance,” he said.

The U.S. eventually changed course, signaling it would recognize the Honduran vote as the only way to clear the impasse. In doing so, it broke with much of Latin America, including Brazil.

That split is the latest fly in the ointment in relations with the region. Washington was especially angered by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Brazil, part of a tour during which he also visited Venezuela and Bolivia, and won backing for his country’s controversial nuclear program. Brazil has raised questions recently about the expanded U.S. use of military bases in Colombia, while Venezuela has called the move a prelude to U.S. invasion.

One reason the U.S. is having a harder time carrying out its agenda is that Latin America is deeply divided between pro-U.S. nations such as Mexico, Colombia and Peru, and a bloc of populist countries including Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. Mr. Chávez also has sometimes found allies in Argentina and Brazil.

Brazil’s emergence as the hemispheric powerhouse is turning into a challenge and — in foreign-policy terms — a disappointment for President Barack Obama, who, like George W. Bush, developed a close relationship with charismatic President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. “The world was hoping that it would become a responsible global player and stakeholder, but instead Brazil is behaving like an immature developing country with a chip on its shoulder,” says Moisés Naím, editor of Foreign Affairs magazine.

Economic woes have also diminished U.S. influence. China is financing Brazil’s state-owned oil company to the tune of $10 billion. “We don’t have $10 billion to give. We have deficits, China has surpluses,” says Riordan Roett, a Latin America expert at Johns Hopkins University.

The Honduran crisis showed the double standard, when Mr. Chávez complained Washington wasn’t doing enough to press Honduras to restore Mr. Zelaya.

Former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda says the crisis is a lesson for Mr. Obama in the limits of cooperation. “You can’t follow the Latin Americans given how polarized the region is,” says Mr. Castañeda. “You have to take a stance, and hope that the others will follow you.”

—Nicholas Casey contributed to this article.

Write to David Luhnow at”———————-MESSENGER ELIJAH MUHAMMAD;”

The Fall of America


America’s Loss of Friendship

 Bible, Obad. 15, “…As thou has done, it shall be done unto thee.” America has done the worst work of deceiving other peoples and making false friendships with them. Now her turn has come. No one wants to trust her for friendship, for she has deceived many nations.

 Bible, Obad. 15, “…As thou has done, it shall be done unto thee.” America has done the worst work of deceiving other peoples and making false friendships with them. Now her turn has come. No one wants to trust her for friendship, for she has deceived many nations.

 Rev. Ch. 12 (Bible) prophesies of America under the worst names that could be given to a human being: serpent, snake, Satan, devil, and the deceiver of the people of the earth. Therefore, the Black man is warned in Rev. 18:4, “…Come out of her, my people…” This scripture warns the Black man to give up Babylon, which is a symbolic name, meaning America. America has tormented the Black Man. Now a tormentor is after her. The Divine Tormentor, says that we should not be partakers of the divine torment coming against America from Allah (God) Who came in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, to Whom praises are due forever. This means, “separation.” We must separate ourselves from America so that we will be saved from the stroke of the Master Who Is God Himself. Allah (God) is whipping America with all kinds of calamities.

 I have been writing for many years that America must be punished for her evil done to her Black once-slaves, who are so-called free-slaves now, and who continue to suffer the same, or worse, punishment under the children of the white slave master, than their white fathers imposed upon our Black fathers under servitude-slavery.

 America has not only lost and is still losing friendship all over Asia and Africa,…but she is now losing friendship right here with her next-door neighbors, Central and South America.

 The manner — the ill-treatment and dislike with which they received the President’s Fact-Finding Committee — made it seem as though they should have been on the other side of the earth. Steps had to be taken to protect their physical self in a country which is right next-door to America.

 However, the scripture must be fulfilled; they shall eat America’s bread and burn her body with fire.

 I quote from Rev. 17:16, “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore…and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire!” The ‘horns’ here are a symbolic reference to Central and South America (America’s satellites).

 This means that America’s gifts and what-not will be accepted, but this does not mean that America has bought their sincere friendship. They will take all the gifts which America offers, but still this does not mean that America has their heart.”

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