Obama in Mexico, and on to the Summit

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Amid heavy security, President Obama arrived in Mexico where he will hold a press conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderón; then head to Trinidad and the Summit of the Americas. This will be Obama's first trip ever to Latin America.

Andrea Mitchell interviewed Calderón:

During the Mitchell interview, Calderón again talked about American blame for drug trafficking. Let's hope that during this afternoon's visit, Calderón, who wants more American money and resources to combat the drug cartels, understands that America did not cause Mexico's decades-long problems of corruption and disrespect for the rule of law which fostered the present situation.

MSNBC speculates on the trip:

As for the rest of the trip after today -- the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad -- look for three story lines to emerge: One is Cuba. Just how hard will the other Latin American leaders criticize the president for what they believe is not much change in Washington's Cuba stance?

Second is anti-Americanism. Many of the emerging political leaders in the region attained power by bashing the U.S. Will the President confront this issue like he did in Europe? Anti-Americanism has always been stronger in Latin America than anywhere else.

And thirdly, there's Hugo Chavez.

Here's what I expect:

Obama will ease further restrictions on Cuba. How far will he go on this trip remains to be seen, but I fully expect that he will effectively end the embargo by year's end with the help of Congress.

When it comes to anti-Americanism, he will embark on the Apology Tour Version 2.0, in very much the same vein as he did in Europe. I agree with Ray Walser that the President must make clear that

the US remains committed to the tenets of liberal democracy, competitive markets, free trade, and the rule of law.
However, judging from the less challenging European trip and from the president's own rhetoric, I have no reason to believe that Obama will take any route other than that of an apologetic listening tour. Let's hope I am wrong.

As for Chavez, Obama will avoid photo ops of any sort where Obama is not the center of attention; Chavez or anyone else included.

It will be an interesting trip, for sure.

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