Writing as Obama took up office, COHA called on the new administration to make good on these foundations and implement a program of change which would not only reverse eight years of failed initiatives under Bush, but also manage to address a series of new political and economic tasks that would have a positive impact on the hemisphere. However, as the presidential campaign wore on, Obama's own position on a number of key issues became disturbingly contradictory. He recognized "nearly 50 years of failure" on Cuba, while pledging to continue "holding back … relaxation of the trade embargo" until certain preconditions were met. He supported continued provision of US military aid under Plan Colombia despite its failed militarization of the War on Drugs, while ostensibly refusing to back Bush's free trade agreement with Colombia because of the violent effects of that militarization. He also called for diplomatic engagement with Venezuela, only to sharply criticize its President, Hugo Chávez, for "[interrupting] progress in the region."
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