A New Day Indeed for US Latin American Relations

From the NY Times this am:

"Leaders from the Western Hemisphere, inspired by a new American president, closed a two-day summit meeting proclaiming a new dawn for relations in the region, which had been marked by bitter disagreements in recent years with the United States.

The antagonism seemed to melt away, replaced by a palpable enthusiasm for a new openness from the United States and hopes of improved relations for Washington with Venezuela and Cuba, which emerged as a core issue here.

The newfound togetherness was a turning point for the region, leaders here said, at a time when the ability to work together could prove critical to weathering the global economic crisis, which threatens to reverse gains the region has made in alleviating poverty in the past several years.

“There was a spirit of good will that went way beyond the wildest dreams of any one of us,” Patrick Manning, the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, said Sunday."

As I sat down to write this morning I kept coming back to one notion - is it okay just to be proud of our President again?  While there will be bumps in regional relations in the years ahead, the President and his team have sent the most important signal they could have sent early in their Administration - that they are taking Latin America, its people and its challenges seriously.   They have shown respect to a region that has not seen enough of that from the US in our history.   And they have shown that they are willing to begin a process that we all hope will lead to a better day in Cuba, and better US-Cuban relations. 

This was a wildly successful trip for the President and his team.  A powerful start.  Congratulations to our new President and his dextrous team.