Latin American leaders hailed on Saturday the victory in the US presidential elections of Democrat Joe Biden, who, according to some analysts, would try to make amends for the damage caused by the Donald Trump government in relation to the region.
Biden, 77, is a well-known leader in Latin America and the Democrat is also familiar with the region, who he visited as Vice President in the Barack Obama administration to boost trade. And many of the rulers expressed their hopes of being able to work together.
“Joe Biden brings to the White House a deeper level of knowledge about Latin America and the Caribbean than any other president since the Cold War,” said Michael Camilleri, director of the Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program of the Inter-American Dialogue, with headquarters in Washington.
“Concerns about democracy, human rights, and corruption will extend beyond Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba,” he added.
Biden defeated President Trump and will be the 46th president of the United States, a victory that comes after more than three days of uncertainty after authorities were delayed in counting votes cast by mail. Biden needed 270 Electoral College votes, which he got once the win was scored in Pennsylvania.
Trump did not accept any defeat and said in a statement that his campaign will begin to present arguments in court considering that the “real” winner would be him.
During his four years in office, the Republican maintained strong collaborative ties on primarily security issues with some countries in the region, including Colombia, and managed to align other governments to stop migration from south of its border, one of its main policies that were harshly questioned by human rights organizations and that caused pain to many families in the region.
On the other hand, Trump reversed the historic rapprochement with Cuba promoted by the previous Obama administration, while tightening economic sanctions against the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and recognized the opposition Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president of the oil nation. , although without being able to obtain the exit of the power of the socialist leader in the long run.
The general feeling was that Trump – a tycoon who was beginning to boost his brand in Latin America before becoming President – took the relationship with the region into the background, which China, his archrival in the global economy, would have taken advantage of to gain more influences.
“The frequent use of threats and punishments will give way to a renewed emphasis on cooperation, diplomacy, and multilateralism,” with Biden’s victory, predicted Michael Shifter, president of Inter-American Dialogue.
Biden’s triumph spread like wildfire in Cuba, one of the nations that were most interested in the outcome of the US elections.
Trump took a radical turn in Obama’s direction in relation to Cuba. He explicitly sought to suffocate the island by chasing companies that operated there, limiting remittances and travel, banning cruises, and even chasing ships with oil for the Caribbean nation.
While Obama assured that the embargo and the sanctions did not work, the Republican said that his tough policy towards Havana was the way to end the Cuban revolution and achieve a multi-party political model. The Cuban government rejected the pressure.
Biden’s triumph “is going to have a direct impact because he spoke of returning to Barack Obama’s policy of (easing),” Camilo Condis, an entrepreneur in Havana, told The Associated Press. “The important thing now would be the response of the Cuban government, if they are going to take advantage of” an eventual rapprochement between the two nations. The government on the island had not yet reacted to the victory of the Democrat.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said this afternoon that he will wait until all legal issues in the United States regarding the elections are resolved so as not to be “reckless” and not repeat what happened in Mexico during the 2006 elections when he recalled Governments such as Spain recognized Felipe Calderón as the winner for the Presidency before finishing the vote count.
“I cannot say, I congratulate one candidate, I congratulate the other, because I want to wait for the electoral process to end, we suffered a lot from the charges, from when the Presidency was stolen from us one of the times and the votes had not yet been counted and some foreign governments were recognizing those who declared themselves winners. That was what happened in 2006, there was still no legal calculation and the President of Spain, [José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero] Zapatero, was already congratulating [Felipe Calderón Hinojosa] Calderón, an imprudence, “he said this afternoon from Villahermosa, Tabasco.
“We do not want to be reckless, we do not want to act lightly and be respectful of the determination of the peoples,” he added.
In Central America, which suffered firsthand from Trump’s restrictive immigration policies, several presidents, including the Honduran Juan Orlando Hernández and the Guatemalan Alejandro Giammattei, welcomed Biden’s victory.
“As we have done so far, we will continue to work together and strengthen bilateral relations,” Giammattei tweeted.
The President of Chile, the center-right Sebastián Piñera, was one of the first to speak out regarding Biden’s triumph.
“Chile and the United States share values such as freedom, the defense of human rights and challenges such as peace and the protection of the environment,” he stressed.
The Argentine President, the leftist Alberto Fernández, congratulated the American people for “the record of participation in the elections, a clear expression of the popular will” while emphasizing, as did other leaders, that Kamala Harris would become the first woman elected Vice President in the United States.
Also, the President of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, and his Paraguayan counterpart Mario Abdo congratulated Biden and expressed their desire to strengthen relations with the new American leader.
“Our countries have a long and special historical relationship,” said Laurentino Cortizo, the president of Panama, a Central American country that Biden visited as vice president in November 2013 to promote the works of the multi-million dollar expansion of the canal. “We will work together to deepen it even more.”