When Barack Obama took office, Lat-in America's leftist leaders looked for-ward to a new start after eight years of George W. Bush, whose policies had fed a fierce streak of anti-Americanism south of the Rio Grande. Initially, Obama seemed different: he announced plans to close Guantánamo Bay and normalize relations with Cuba, and even shook the hand of chronic Yankee basher Hugo Chávez. Most felt that the last page of the Latin Cold War had finally been turned. Now they're not so sure. Obama hasn't ended the Cuban embargo or revoked sanctions imposed on Bolivia by the Bush administration. He chose not to penalize the de facto Honduran government after a June coup, to the chagrin of Latin neighbors. And when a U.S. lease on military bases in Ecuador expired in August, the White House turned to Bush's closest regional ally, Colombia's Álvaro Uribe, who's agreed to allow U.S. troops access in Chávez's backyard. That's started South America's left grumbling anew over gringo meddling. Obama, for his part, isn't flinching, and neither is Uribe. Washington's new best friends are the same as the old ones.
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