"There isn't any reason the twenty-first century couldn't be an Americas century," said Virginia Senator Tim Kaine in a conversation with COA Vice President Eric Farnsworth at Council of the Americas. After a recent trip to Central America, Kaine discussed the region's support for Obama's proposal to spend $1 billion in aid in Northern Triangle countries. According to the senator, it's more cost effective for the United States to invest in the region's security and prosperity rather than spend more on the ramifications of insecurity; he highlighted the 2014 migrant crisis, which cost the United States $2.3 billion. Moreover, improving situations in Colombia and Mexico could serve as examples for the right U.S. initiatives in the region, he added.
Shiftin U.S.-Cuba diplomacy is also an opportunity for greater coordination on the North-South axis. And though the "center of gravity" in Congress is in support of the administration, policy between the two countries may be slow to evolve. "From a congressional standpoint, we will be taking the lead of the State Department," said Kaine. "It's not going to be fast, but it's going to be steady and obvious."