US President Barack Obama on Tuesday declined to apologize for past CIA interventions and alleged coup attempts in Latin America, after talks with Chilean leader Michele Bachelet.
"I'm interested in going forward, not looking backward," said Obama, who has pledged to reinvigorate ties with Latin America, after what his advisors believe was neglect during the previous Bush administration.
"I think that the United States has been an enormous force for good in the world. I think there have been times where we've made mistakes," Obama said in the Oval Office.
"But I think that what is important is looking at what our policies are today, and what my administration intends to do in cooperating with the region."
Obama was asked by a Chilean journalist whether he would apologize for past CIA operations in the region, like an apparent US-backed coup attempt in Chile in 1973.
The president said he was looking to Chile to be an "excellent" partner in his Latin America policy, focusing on improving economic conditions and trade and energy cooperation.
He said Bachelet was one of the "most compelling leaders that we have, not just in the hemisphere but around the world," and said he was looking forward to visiting Chile soon.
Bachelet described Obama as an "idol" in Chile and praised his leadership during the worst economic downturn on record.
"The way you're developing your leadership inspires us, make us feel comfortable, and very confident too," she said.
"We have congratulated President Obama for his foreign policy also and for his efforts not only nationally but also internationally -- to deal with the economic crisis."
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