Campaign Promises

Departments -> State -> Latin America/Caribbean

Latin America/CaribbeanGrade
ST-42 The Promise: " president, Obama will grant Cuban Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send remittances to the island."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Renewing U.S. Leadership in the Americas", dated 06/06/08.
Status:Source is cited for confirmation of exact promise wording only, as it existed before original "When/Where" campaign document was deleted from archival websites.

On 04/13/09, President Obama issued an executive order eliminating limits on travel and raising remittance levels by Cuban Americans to relatives in Cuba.

On 01/14/11, President Obama ordered his Administration to find ways to ease travel to Cuba by non-Cuban Americans (primarily academics, students, religious groups, and journalists). Money transfers to Cuba would be permitted to non-government persons in an amount not exceeding $2,000 per year.

This promise was fulfilled.
ST-43 The Promise: "...will rebuild diplomatic links throughout the hemisphere through aggressive, principled, and sustained diplomacy in the Americas from Day One. He will bolster U.S. interests in the region by pursuing policies that advance democracy, opportunity, and security and will treat our hemispheric partners and neighbors with dignity and respect."
When/Where: Plan for America: "Blueprint for Change," dated 10/09/08
Source: Obama and Biden's documents/550007-barack-obama-2008-blueprint-for-change.html
Status:Barely 4 months in office in 04/09, President Obama attended the 5th Summit of the Americas in Trinidad & Tobago along with 33 other democratically elected Heads of State and Government of the Western Hemisphere. President Obama used this meeting to start engaging in new relationships with countries of the Americas to work together on common challenges: the economic crisis, our common energy and climate future, and public safety.

During the meeting, President Obama committed to continue working with Western Hemisphere counterparts for the reduction of poverty, social inclusion, and democratic governance.

The resumption of diplomatic relations with Cuba announced by President Obama on 12/17/14 was significant, followed by the opening of Cuban and U.S. embassies in mid-CY2015.

This promise was fulfilled.
ST-44 The Promise: "...will bring together the countries of the region in a new Energy Partnership for the Americas to forge a path toward sustainable growth and clean energy."
When/Where: Plan for America: "Blueprint for Change," dated 10/09/08
Source: Obama and Biden's documents/550007-barack-obama-2008-blueprint-for-change.html
Status:During the 04/09 Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, President Obama invited all governments of the Western Hemisphere to join in an Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA).

He suggested that the ECPA focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy, cleaner and more efficient use of fossil fuels, energy poverty, and infrastructure. This focus was developed at the 06/09 Americas Energy and Climate Symposium in Lima, Peru.

During his first trilateral North American Leaders meeting held at Guadalajara, Mexico on 08/10/09, President Obama led the establishment of a partnership with the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Canada on future emissions trading systems and building a smart grid across the region for more efficient and reliable electricity inter-connections. The partnership established between these three countries was a step in the right direction toward promise fulfillment.

In 04/10, Energy Secretary Chu invited Western Hemisphere energy ministers to the "Energy and Climate Ministerial of the Americas". During this meeting, State Secretary Clinton proposed that ECPA's mandate be expanded to include initiatives regarding sustainable forests and land use, as well as climate change adaptation.

To jump-start the ECPA's efforts, the Administration named three top scientists to serve as ECPA fellows, to serve as consultants, advisors or educators for any of the member countries: Dr. Daniel Kammen, a professor of energy at the University of California-Berkeley; Dr. Ruth Defries, a professor of sustainable development at Columbia University; and Dr. Gerry Galloway, an engineering professor at the University of Maryland.

This promise was fulfilled.
ST-45 The Promise: "...will substantially increase our aid to the Americas..."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "To Secure America and Restore our Standing," undated.
Source: Source document was available online throughout the Obama Administration. It has since been deleted from all archival websites.
Status:Foreign aid extended to Latin America and the Caribbean during the Obama Administration included funding for:
- Development Assistance (DA)
- Global Health Programs (GHP)
- Food for Peace (P.L. 480)
- Economic Support Fund (ESF)
- Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA)
- International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE) provided through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI)
- Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, De-mining, and Related programs (NADR)
- Foreign Military Financing (FMF), and
- International Military Education and Training (IMET)

Foreign aid provided by fiscal year for the Americas was:
FY2010 - $3.30B
FY2011 - $1.85B
FY2012 - $1.82B
FY2013 - $1.68B
FY2014 - $1.47B
FY2015 - $1.58B
FY2016 - $1.73B

The reduction in funding from FY2011 onward was attributed by the Administration to the effects of the CY2008 financial crisis.

This promise was not fulfilled.
ST-46 The Promise: "...we need to target all sources of insecurity through a new hemispheric security initiative. This initiative will foster cooperation within the region to combat gangs, trafficking and violent criminal activity."
When/Where: Plan for America: "Blueprint for Change," dated 10/09/08
Source: Obama and Biden's documents/550007-barack-obama-2008-blueprint-for-change.html
Status:On 05/27/10, the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) was launched during the first "U.S.-Caribbean Security Dialogue" in Washington, D.C. The CBSI supplements three other related initiatives: the Merida Initiative, the Central American Regional Security Initiative, and the Colombian Security Development Initiative.

By covering the different regions of Latin America and the Caribbean through these initiatives, the Obama Administration attempted to "mitigate any balloon effect" - criminal spillover resulting from successful reductions in drug trafficking and transnational crime elsewhere in the region."

There were three objectives stipulated in the CBSI: (1) substantially reduce illicit trafficking, (2) increase public safety and security, and (3) promote social justice.

To accomplish the above objectives, the FY2010 Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill allocated $37M for CBSI. President Obama requested $79M for CBSI in his FY2011 budget proposal, $62M of which would be used for police and military assistance, and $17M for economic and social assistance.

This promise was fulfilled.