U.S. presidential race sparks interest in Latin America, Caribbean

The U.S. presidential race is sparking lots of interest in Latin America and the Caribbean. Many residents say they like the youth and promise of change of Sen. Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic nominee. But many others say they like Sen. John McCain, the presumed Republican nominee, for his stance in favor of free trade.

Read the Miami Herald's three-part series on how people in the region see the race

PART I: There is a fierce behind-the-scenes battle for influence over presumptive Democratic candidate Barack Obama's Hispanic and Latin American agenda, and some Democratic strategists say that its outcome could determine the result of the November elections. Some Obama backers in South Florida, in particular, are especially miffed at what they see as excessive power by labor-union-tied, left-leaning Mexican-American leaders at Obama's Chicago headquarters over the campaign's nationwide Hispanic and Latin American policy strategies.

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PART II: 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.

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PART III: While Barack Obama, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, appears to be the rage across the Caribbean, some analysts express concerns about how his policies would affect the region. And, although John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, generates less attention in the Democratic-leaning Caribbean, some observers say his support of free trade and his policy experience could be better for the islands.

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