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Four messages Obama is sending Latin America from his trip through Asia

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Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

(Read caption) US President Barack Obama waves as he is introduced before speaking at Yangon University’s Convocation Hall in Yangon, Myanmar, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012.

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President Obama's first post-reelection trip passes through Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), and Cambodia for the ASEAN summit. The messages that Latin America hears from this trip may or may not be the ones the United States intends to send.

Move in the right direction

Burma is a military dictatorship that is less democratic and more repressive than any country in the Western Hemisphere except Cuba. Yet, they're doing better than they were a decade ago. They've released some political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi and have begun reforms to give democratically elected civilians increased power. The US has eased sanctions and the president is visiting. For a country like Cuba, it should be seen as a sign that real reforms can be met with better relations by the US and that gradual progress is possible.

RELATED: Think you know Latin America? Take our geography quiz!

Play well with the US military

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