- Donald Trump’s economic program could hurt Latin American investments and exports
- But it would also hurt the U.S. economy, while spurring more illegal immigration
- American neglect could give China a golden opportunity to expand its influence
- Much will depend on the president-elect’s learning curve and interest
Like many people around the world, Latin Americans were surprised by the presidential election victory of Donald J. Trump in the United States. On the left and right, many were critical of his policy proposals, and most were appalled by his xenophobia and harsh criticism of Latinos. Consequently, his election is causing great concern throughout the region. The most optimistic comments come from those who argue that President Trump cannot possibly follow through on the outrageous assertions made by candidate Trump over the past year.
During the campaign, Mr. Trump focused almost exclusively on Mexico, which he presented with the double whammy of paying for a wall to keep out illegal immigrants and renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. He called NAFTA the worst trade deal ever negotiated anywhere. As for the rest of the hemisphere, there was a promise to “review” the rapprochement with Cuba, which he also categorized as a bad deal for the U.S.