Bush OKs aid programs for Latin America
President Bush said he plans to send tens of millions of dollars in aid to improve education, housing and healthcare in Latin America, according to an AP report (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,,-6459596,00.html).
Bush also said that poverty in the region has become a scandal that has increased disbelief in democracy. Bush gave this speech amid criticism that he has ignored Latin America.
The speech came three days before the president leaves for a trip to Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico.
Since taking office, Bush has doubled Latin American spending to $1.6 billion a year. However, much of this money has been relegated to military and anti-narcotic programs.
Some of the aid's provisions include a health care professional training center in Panama, $75 million in increasing education in English speaking, and $385 million to make housing more affordable.
According to a BBC report, some say the aid is in response to the election of many leftist leaders in Latin America, many that are critical of the U.S. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6421701.stm).
One in four people in the region live on less than $2 a day and many children never finish grade school, Bush said.
One thing that stood out about the AP report was the fact that they mentioned the "why" in the lead, which I thought was out of place. It undermines the fact that the aid was being given away, and it also shifts focus away from Latin America and lavishes it on Bush. The story was structured well, placing the Bush quotes up front and getting quotes from other experts in response later on to add context. The one thing the article lacked was dissenting opinion. There has to be someone critical of this plan. The BBC article had a straightforward "who" lead, as is common with stories focusing on Bush. This article didn't have any sources besides Bush, which I disliked, but it was just a brief account of the main outline of the speech. If I may editorialize, I think both of these articles somewhat fail because they focus so much on the small details. It might be naive to think these articles should question the conventional wisdom, but I personally have become very cynical toward development aid programs like this. Aid, I have learned, is never free and there are always hidden costs that keep the rich in power and the poor struggling to get by.