But don't put all the blame on the President. That has been the norm since John F. Kennedy in 1961 spoke of an Alliance for Progress in Latin America.
It's true some Republican presidents have emphasized free trade agreements with several nations in the hemisphere; Jimmy Carter gave control of the Panama Canal to Panama; and Ronald Reagan got entangled with the Iran-Contra scandal in an effort to oust the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.
But with these and a few other exceptions, the American policy towards region has been one of benign neglect. It shows.
There was a time when what the United States said about the region or any of its nation states mattered. Now most of Latin America has its own agenda and many of the most important countries in the region pay scant attention to what the United States says.
Witness the meeting in Havana this week of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States or (CELAC) for its Spanish acronym. This is only the organization's second meeting since it was created in December of 2011 in Caracas, Venezuela.
CELAC was created with the dual purpose of seeking deeper integration within the Americas and to reduce the influence of the United States. in the region. It was also created as an alternative to the Organization of American States. (OAS). CELAC has 33 member states that represent roughly 600 million people and purposely excludes the United States and Canada.
Despite the fact it was created as an alternative to the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, its Secretary General, was in Havana as an observer. Who cares if the United States pays the largest chunk of its budget. Insulza, a Chilean, had to be present with all his leftist friends in Cuba.
A quick overview of the governments in the region shows the influence of the United States has diminished considerably.
Politicians with leftist agendas and even with background as guerrilla leaders earlier in their careers now preside over the many of the larger and most important governments in the region.
The list includes many of the usual suspects: Raúl Castro in Cuba; Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela; and Rafael Correa in Ecuador. They don't hide the fact they have leftist policies and disagree violently with the United States.
They were not alone. Also present were:
Uruguay's President José "Pepe" Mujica, a former Tupamaro guerrilla leader who spent 14 years in a military prison during the 1970s and '80s;
Brazil's Dilma Rousseff, a former Marxist guerrilla jailed by the military in the 1970s;.
Argentina's Cristina Fernández, who is hanging on to power due to a crumbling economy, was one of the first to arrive and pay her personal respect to Fidel Castro, the longest-living dictator in the world;.
Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, a known Marxist who has been savvy enough to not allow his socialist principles impede foreign companies from investing in the Central American nation.
Chile's incoming president Michelle Bachelet, who was tortured during Gen. Augusto Pinochet's regime, and whose father was killed while the general ran the country. Bachelet is a democrat who has pledged to move Chile further to the left in her second term in office.
Not as far to the left were Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, whose government is negotiating a peace agreement with the FARC guerrillas in Havana. Some say Santos, who ran as Alvaro Uribe's candidate, is moving to the center, although Uribe now opposes him believes he has gone too far to the left and now opposes his re-election.
Many in the region were worried when Peruvians elected Ollanta Humala and feared he would take the country to the radical left. The opposite is true. Humala has presided over a sizzling economy, where private enterprise is king.
In his first year in office Mexico's Enrique Peña Nieto has opened up Mexico's oil exploration to joint ventures with foreign companies and pursued many pro-business initiatives.
Most of the Central American presidents still believe in neo-liberal economic policies. But together they still represent only a minor part of the hemisphere's population.
If you gather that the region as a whole has veered to the left, you are correct. It's all product of this country's benign neglect for its neighbors.
Guillermo I. Martinez resides in South Florida. His e-mail is Guimar123@gmail.com and his Twitter is @g_martinez123