Saturday, August 23, 2008

Barack Obama taps Joe Biden for VP

Update: It's official now; Biden will be Obama's running mate.

According to several news stories over the past hour, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has chosen Joe Biden to be his running mate.

The longtime legislator from Delaware is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and this counters criticism that Obama is too inexperienced in international affairs. Yet he’s also prone to verbal gaffes like when he allegedly “dressed down” Obama last year.

What effect does Joe Biden’s supposed vice presidential candidacy have for Latin America and the Caribbean? A search through Biden’s official website provides some clues:

  • Biden claims to have “the bully pulpit of the Drug Caucus” to fight against illegal drug use and illegal trafficking. He said that he was “a strong advocate” for the comprehensive aid package known as Plan Colombia and has “exerted pressure” on the Mexican government to combat trafficking.
  • In a June 2007 statement, Biden backed debate on a bipartisan immigration reform bill since the “immigration system is broken and we have an obligation to work on it until we fix it.” (That bill would eventually be defeated).
  • Took to the floor in 2006 to recognize “ten extraordinary women” as part of International Women’s Day; one of them was Mexican actress/producer Salma Hayek.
  • Pointed out “China’s growing soft power in Asia, Africa, and Latin America” during a May hearing on the growing global role of China.
  • After Raul Castro took over the Cuban presidency, Biden issued a statement calling for the trade embargo against the island to stay while also advocating the loosening of travel restrictions.
  • In a 2006 speech, Biden warned about the “Axis of Oil” which includes several countries he believed were a “grave danger” to the U.S. including Venezuela.

In addition, the very resourceful lists several of Biden’s viewpoints on foreign policy including his 1995 vote to strengthen the trade embargo against Cuba and his resolution condemning Venezuela for pulling RCTV’s broadcast license.

Assuming that the reports are true over an Obama/Biden ticket, what do you think about it?

Image- Wall Street Journal

Sources- Joe Biden – Senator for Delaware, CNN, MSNBC, Reuters,


Anonymous said...

Wow, I am bit disappointed. I was hoping he would chose Hillary Clinton.

Miguel said...

Erwin - if you look at other blogs, news sources, and times, it looks like you were one of the first to break the story on the internet :) Congrats!

John McAuliff said...

Where is Joe Biden on Cuba? Some additional indication from his public record follows:

At Brown and Black Forum, Des Moines, 12/01/07:

Joe Biden: (1:38:31) We have to reach out to the Cuban people right now because he’s not going to last no matter what you say and the bottom line is we have to have a plan. There is no plan. Chris is right. You’ve got to normalize relations with them eventually and it seems to me that’s going to come very quickly.

MN: (1:28:43) Normalize relations whether or not Fidel Castro is in power?

JB: (1:28:47) Not as long as he in fact has his human rights policy but you’ve got to compete with it.

His "Chris" reference:

Chris Dodd: (1:27:20) I served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic and spent a lot time on Latin American issues and chaired the [sub]committee of the Foreign Relations Committee for the last 26 years dealing with Latin American. I think we are making a huge mistake by not normalizing relations with Cuba. The only one who is benefiting from this in my view, the only one who has benefited is Fidel Castro. This is outrageous in my view. If you want to create change in the country as we did with the eastern block countries, this is the way, is to allow travel to occur. This is the only country in the world where Americans are not allowed to travel there because our country forbids them from going there. That is how you create change in these countries. This embargo has done nothing but keep Fidel Castro in power. I think we ought to abandon
the embargo, open up travel restrictions and he’ll create change immediately in my view of Cuba.

Also, in 2003 Senators Michael Enzi (R-WY), Max Baucus (D-MT), Larry Craig (R-ID) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) offered an amendment to the Transportation/Treasury appropriations bill that would end funding for the travel ban to Cuba. A motion to table (kill) the amendment failed 59-36 and the amendment itself passed on a voice vote. Biden voted against tabling, i.e. a vote for allowing all travel.