Saturday, February 27, 2010

Latin American Integration

It seems fitting to discuss Latin American integration in this blog since the topic is basically the blog's namesake. Unification and integration have been issues Latin America has grappled with since the Independence period. Whether it was with Simon Bolivar's Gran Colombia which encompassed Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, and part of Costa Rica or the United Provinces of Central America there have always been attempts at regional unity within Latin America.

So what of the news that a new Latin American and Caribbean system is being created? The mission of the new bloc is yet to be decided and will be discussed at another conference in Caracas, Venezuela next year. However, the bloc is already beginning to show faint forms of power dynamics. The leader of the bloc was Mexico for most of the proceedings. Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina are generally seen as the most powerful Latin American countries because of their development, resources, size, and wealth. During the meeting the group also restated it's support for Argentina's claims to the Malvinas Islands (Falkland Islands) that the U.K. currently possesses. The United States did not back up the positions of either country which was in stark contrast to the U.S. position the last time the issue of the Malvinas was brought up: President Ronald Reagan openly backed the U.K. and even offered intelligence for the U.K. war effort against Argentina.

While there are already naysayers who are calling this new bloc "toothless," I believe that this is a step that Latin America is taking away from the days of the Monroe Doctrine and rampant U.S. intervention. Latin America, for all of its differences, has a shared history. One of European conquest, domination, and conversion and not to mention the more recent history of U.S. imperialism. So, why not unite to preserve the integrity of your sibling nations? An integrated Latin America and Caribbean would have more power in international trade and would be better prepared to handle disputes between States. Increased political and social integration would also tear down the walls of nationalism, racism, and even ethnicism that exist between Latin American and Caribbean states and could promote shared human rights laws, respect for indigenous claims to land, and decrease dependence on foreign capital.

Latin America divided has been the target of vulture capitalists, politicians, and armies for long enough. It's about time they unite and maintain Latin America for Latin Americans!


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