SANTIAGO, Chile (CNN) – U.S. President Barack Obama admitted on Monday that relations with Latin America have often been "extremely rocky," but he fell far short of the apology that protesters had demanded for past American support of Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet.
During a press conference in the Chilean capital, Obama told reporters it was time to look forward, not backward.
"The history of relations between the United States and Latin America have at times been extremely rocky and have at times been difficult," he said when asked about U.S. involvement in Pinochet's 1973 military coup. "But we're not trapped by our history," he added.
SANTIAGO, Chile (CNN) – There's no more serious decision for any commander-in-chief than to authorize the use of military force. While President Obama inherited two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military operation in Libya is the first new operation he has authorized since taking office.
Here's an inside look into how the president and his administration handled this important task as he was about to embark on a five day trip through Latin America.
FRIDAY, MARCH 18
9:00 a.m. ET: National Security Advisor Donilon holds a secure conference call with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen on Libya diplomatic and military planning after U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 passed the night before, authorizing a no-fly zone over Libya and to use all necessary means to protect civilians.
SANTIAGO, Chile (CNN) - Organizers of an anti-Obama rally in central Santiago gathered Monday in the Plaza de Almargro park, a site about four blocks from where President Obama and his Chilean counterpart held meetings and answered questions from the press.
Billed as the “Obama Deception Tour 2011,” invitations encouraged Chileans to engage in “Citizen’s activities” and listen to local bands, including The Miserables Ones and Rebel Sun. A line at the top of the invitation read: “For Peace – No to a new Iraq in Libya”
SANTIAGO, Chile (CNN) – President Obama repeated Monday that Moammar Gadhafi "needs to go," but he acknowledged the Libyan dictator may remain in power for some time because the allied military mission in North Africa has a more narrow mandate of just protecting innocent civilians.
"Our military action is in support of an international mandate from the Security Council that specifically focuses on the humanitarian threat posed by Colonel Gadhafi's people," Obama said at a news conference here.
Obama alluded to the fact that U.N. Resolution 1973 passed last Thursday restricts the U.S. and its allies from seeking regime change and directly ousting Gadhafi from power.
But, he noted, "Now, I also have stated that it is U.S. policy that Gaddafi needs to go."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama and his family continue their Latin America trip today traveling from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Santiago, Chile.
The official White House schedule is after the jump.