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LOS ANGELES — After ignoring Latin America for years, President George W. Bush is desperately trying to improve hemispheric relations. But his just-completed trip to Latin America came too late. Years of neglect could not possibly be erased by a trip long in photo opportunities and short in substance.

Before flying to Brazil, Bush said his administration doesn’t get enough credit for its Latin American policy. But, in 2007, the United States will provide economic assistance to Latin American and the Caribbean worth $1.8 billion, which is $200 million less than in 2006. Moreover, almost half of the total goes out in the form of military aid, while $716 million will go to one country, Colombia.

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