PANAMA — And the new star in Latin America is … the United States?
The reviews are in, and while the United States still faces plenty of tricky relations in a diverse region of 35 states, President Obama walked away with more salutes than swipes from a regional Summit of the Americas where the United States usually takes a drubbing.
The question now is whether Mr. Obama and his successors can capitalize on the new credibility Washington has earned, primarily through his reconciliation with Havana.
Mr. Obama sat down for an hourlong meeting with President Raúl Castro of Cuba, which the United States allowed to attend the summit for the first time since the meetings began in 1994. It was the first meeting between leaders of the Cold War-era foes.
Mr. Obama also announced that Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, will be accorded a state visit to Washington in June, after she canceled one in 2013 over American tapping of her communications.
He even briefly chatted with President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, who just a few hours earlier had railed against American “imperialist interference” and threatened — but notably failed to deliver to Mr. Obama — a petition demanding that the United States lift sanctions against several Venezuelan officials accused of human rights violations.