St. Charles Herald-Guide

Free trade could help our image in South America

By Allen Lottinger - March 14, 2007

President Bush has turned his attention into a new direction, one that has not occupied the attention of American presidents in quite some time.

His trip to South America this week obviously is designed to counteract the growing influence of socialism south of the border.

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela who is trying to set up a socialist dictatorship in his country and get other countries to follow has been attacking the U. S. rhetorically for some time. Now he is following Bush around trying to undo the goodwill he might spread.

Free trade, it would seem, would be the best answer to building good relations with South America. While Chavez is trying to turn over production of goods and services to the government, free trade would help to expand private enterprise, which could do a much better job.

Government is necessary to do certain things. But in matters that expand the economy, nothing beats private enterprise.

Latin American nations should work toward creating a greater middle class that would be supported by private enterprise. In so doing, they would be much better off than going the Chavez way and adopting socialism.