If President Obama's goal is to get more cozy with the region's "dictators and left-wing populists" than George W. Bush was, said Mary Anastasia O'Grady in The Wall Street Journal, then Obama can "chalk up a win" after the weekend's Summit of the Americas. But if Obama "sought to advance American ideals, things didn't go well," because he let the freest country in the region take a beating from Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Bolivia's Evo Morales, and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega.
"Obama did right to listen to all the complaints," said La Opinion in an editorial, and to remind everybody that "it is inaccurate to blame the United States for all the region's problems." Obama showed that the U.S. can change by promising to be an effective partner—"a 180-degree turnaround" from George W. Bush's message. The uncooperative response from Chavez & Co. showed that they're the ones not ready for change.
Obama's handshake with the "leftist" Chavez, said USA Today in an editorial, and his attempt to reach out to Cuba were striking examples of his "campaign to remake America's relationship" with the rest of the world. "It remains to be seen what tangible results can be achieved with this softer sell. But Latin America could be the perfect place to try it out."