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

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“I don’t really think it makes much of a difference if there is a Republican or Democrat in the White House. This is not only for Brazil but for Latin America in general,” says Arthur Ituassu, a political analyst at the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro.

'Space for more autonomy'

Latin America grumbles about the scant attention it has received from the US post 9-11, a reality underscored by just a sprinkling of mentions of the region during presidential debates leading up to election night. Yet at the same time, its focus elsewhere is also seen as a blessing, and a sign of Latin America’s increasing independence.

“Obama paid very little attention to Latin America and Colombia [during his first term]. … But that is not a bad thing,” says Laura Gil, a political analyst in Bogota. “It gives space for more autonomy here, and gives space for Brazil to consolidate its leadership in the region.”

That does not mean that Latin Americans did not welcome Obama’s win, securing a historic second term as the US’s first black president.

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