Bush Excluded From Latin Summit, Countries Turn To China, Russia, Iran

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Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Latin American and Caribbean leaders gathering in Brazil tomorrow will mark a historic occasion: a region-wide summit that excludes the United States.

Almost two centuries after President James Monroe declared Latin America a U.S. sphere of influence, it is breaking away. From socialist-leaning Venezuela to market-friendly Brazil, governments are expanding military, economic and diplomatic ties with potential U.S. adversaries such as China, Russia and Iran.

"Monroe certainly would be rolling over in his grave," says Julia Sweig, director of the Latin America program at the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington and author of the 2006 book "Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century."

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