Tillerson’s 6-Day Latin America Tour to Focus on Venezuela

From Voice of AmericaU.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson begins a six-day trip through Latin America Thursday in which he’s expected to rally the region’s governments in pressing democratic reforms in crisis-ridden Venezuela.

Tillerson’s travels will take him to Mexico, Argentina, Peru and Colombia, with a final stop in Jamaica on February 7.

The United States will use “all its political, diplomatic and economic tools to address the situation in Venezuela,” a senior State Department official said at a briefing this week on the trip. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and elsewhere. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, Russia, and even transnational criminal organizations.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform policymakers and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.