President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney clashed again on Monday, during the last presidential debate before the Nov. 6 election, which focused on foreign policy but merely skimmed talk of Latin American issues.
In fact, Latin America was mentioned once, by Romney, when answering a question about the role of the United States in the world.
“Latin America is a huge opportunity for us,” Romney said—in passing—as he discussed trade, while saying that there is too much focus on China.
There was no talk about drug cartels in Mexico and security in Central America, which was a big focus during Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to that region in the spring. No talk about the United States’ policy about Cuba, either. Moderator Bob Schieffer, host of CBS’s Face the Nation, did not designate Latin America as one of the debate topics ahead of the encounter.
The president visited Colombia in April for the Summit of the Americas, and ahead of the summit, the White House emphasized the importance of trade, as VOXXI previously reported. However, there was no discussion about this during this debate. Obama also hosted Mexico President Felipe Calderon during the North American Leaders’ Summit in April, where drug trafficking and gun violence in Mexico topped the agenda.
Ironically, even though there was discussion about a nuclear Iran, there was no discussion about Iran’s Latin American allies, particularly recently re-elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Chavez hosted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during Ahmadinejad’s five-day Latin American tour in January. The Iranian president also visited Cuba, Nicaragua and Ecuador.
That same month, the Venezuelan consul in Miami, Livia Acosta, was declared persona non grata by the U.S. State Department, after she was implicated in an Iranian plot to launch a cyber attack against the United States. Upon her expulsion, consulate operations were shut down and the consulate still remains closed.
The presidential debate focused mostly on the Middle East
The focus on Monday night, however, was mostly on the Middle East, especially Al Qaeda, Libya and Iran.
Libya has been a hot topic over the last few weeks, as the White House has found itself in the center of a public relations nightmare, due to their handling of the terrorist attacks against the U.S. embassy in Benghazi and the murder of the ambassador there. During their last debate, Romney tried to bring focus to that issue, but it backfired.
With only two weeks to go before the election, the two candidates are basically tied, according to the polls.