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Latin Americans love Obama – so why the 'collective shrug' on reelection?

Obama is considered more popular in Latin America than his predecessor. But the region's self-confidence makes it feel far less buffeted by a particular president's outlook.

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Voters cast their ballots in a polling station set inside the Latin American Motorcycle Association Hall in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Jerome Delay/AP

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Leading up to the United States presidential election, Latin Americans, like Latinos in the US, widely favored the reelection of President Obama.

In fact, while attitudes about the US are conflicted here – and often far from glowing – America’s leader is widely respected. In the latest poll from the regional firm Latinobarometro in Chile, Latin Americans in 18 countries selected Obama as their favorite leader in the Americas.

So one would assume Mr. Obama’s victory Tuesday night over Republican candidate Mitt Romney for a second term in office would be heralded across Latin America, bringing a sense of optimism from Mexico City to Montevideo.

But instead, it’s been met with a collective shrug.

Amid economic problems at home, the US is focused on conflict in the Middle East and a recent "Asia pivot." Because of this, analysts across the region say the US is not expected to pay attention to the issues Latin Americans find most crucial, from immigration reform in Mexico, to a new bilateral relationship with an emerging Brazil, to the peace process underway in Colombia.

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