Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela are ‘exceptions’: US

    Cuba, Nicaragua, are 'exceptions': US

    WASHINGTON — Latin America is enjoying growth and stable democracy with
    the "notable exceptions" of the leftist governments of Cuba, Nicaragua
    and Venezuela, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday.

    Clinton had special praise for Brazil, Chile and Colombia in testimony
    to the Senate Appropriations Committee as she discussed her proposed
    2012 budget.

    Latin America, "with notable exceptions like Cuba and a few others like
    Venezuela and Nicaragua," has "moved into an era of sustainable
    democracy and economic growth," Clinton said.

    Brazil "is booming," Clinton told the senators. "It is a real success

    "They have the highest tax to GDP ( domestic product) ratio in the
    hemisphere," she said, "and they use that money to invest in social
    inclusion, improve their and systems."

    Chile "similarly has good leadership and made good investments," Clinton
    said, while there has been "a successful American partnership" with
    Colombia regarding its war with leftist guerrillas and Bogota's
    crackdown on drug trafficking.

    President Barack Obama is scheduled to March 19-23 to Brazil,
    Chile and El Salvador.