Politics & Government

Obama, McCain both have support in Latin America

Likely Republican presidential nominee John McCain seems to have the upper hand on Latin American issues, especially on trade, say prominent Latin American intellectuals and politicians who have been following the U.S. elections.

Still, Democratic presumptive nominee Barack Obama's charisma and background have sparked excitement in the region.

Although no polls have been commissioned in Latin America on the U.S. presidential race, analysts can cite opinions shared by the general public and political leaders about the contest.

But they disagree about which candidate can better manage the regional issues that should be high on the next U.S. president's agenda.

Obama's regional appeal, observers say, is tied more to his ethnicity and what he represents and less to his positions on the issues.

''People may not understand the details, but there is sympathy for Obama, for his vision that . . . is less unilateralist and that offers a withdrawal from Iraq and because he is a minority,'' said Farid Kahhat, professor of International Relations at the Universidad Católica in Lima.

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