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Obstacles to Latin American unity?


FloatingVoterTralee

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Since the turn of the millennium, the foundation of Unasur has lent a new momentum to Bolivar's vision of South American unity, with a Bank of the South being launched and visa procedures between member nations being gradually eased, but many historical impediments may yet serve to hinder the integrational process:

1. Uneven socio-economic wealth distribution:

The latifundia system of land ownership hindered the process of economic development through South America for many centuries, and while reformist governments throughout the continent have initiated populist programmes, inequality will prevent the development of consumer economies for some time to come.

2. Nationalised industries and protectionist policies:

Where rightwing governments didn't allocate key industries to American investors at knock-down prices, leftwing governments kept vital industries such as petroleum in state hands, enriching the coffers of dictators rather than promoting the general good. Only since the Nineties has the opening of markets promoted transcontinental competition.

3. The cult of the caudillo:

Between the Spanish tendency to rule the regions through viceroys and the emergence of strongmen such as Bolivar and San Martin, the historical inclination towards rule through a caudillo, enforced through the study of the US model, saw legislatures largely ignored, and thus democracy has only permanently taken root in South America since the end of the Cold War.

4. Ethnic/racist tension:

While ostensibly, the universal use of Spanish as a lingua franca should make South American unity easier to accomplish than in Europe, national populations can be broken down into four mutually antagonistic groupings. The criollo are the most "pure" white community, descended from the original Spanish colonists, regarding themselves as superior to the other ethnic groupings, with Argentina, Chile and Uruguay largely composed of such settlers. More common are mestizos, descended from both whites and Indians, and the base population of most of the South American continent. Both look down on the mulattos, descended from Indians and blacks, most common in Brazil, but also Colombia and Venezuela. At the bottom of the traditional rung have been pure Indians, and their struggle to gain political power has been at the core of much social foment.

5. Physical geography:

Both the Andes and the Amazon have proved major physical barriers to regional trade and communication, but improved road and rail infrastructure, along with satellite and the Internet should assist endeavours towards regional integration.
 
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R3volution_R3ady

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I'm afraid the biggest one is football.
 

Niall996

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Is there a desire in South America for this unity?
 

Analyzer

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6. The tendency towards chaos that exists in Latin American ??
 

ManOfReason

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Not sure about any EU like economic union that included Brazil - its huge economy would dominate the union, add on the difference in language and I think you would have a non-runner.
 

stopdoingstuff

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The fact that no one cares about it or wants it beyond the usual elitists.
 

Niall996

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What about Asian unity?
 

Elvis jaffacake

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They all dislike each other?....
 

james5001

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Where rightwing governments didn't allocate key industries to American investors at knock-down prices, leftwing governments kept vital industries such as petroleum in state hands, enriching the coffers of dictators rather than promoting the general good. Only since the Nineties has the opening of markets promoted transcontinental competition.
That's false. There have been cases of governments using the profits to benefit the people.
Latin America has gone its own way, rejecting ''globalisation'', with vast improvements made as a result.
 

james5001

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6. The tendency towards chaos that exists in Latin American ??
There's no tendency. Only when outside governments fund killing machines to topple democratic governments.
 

Partizan

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Since the turn of the millennium, the foundation of Unasur has lent a new momentum to Bolivar's vision of South American unity, with a Bank of the South being launched and visa procedures between member nations being gradually eased, but many historical impediments may yet serve to hinder the integrational process:

1. Uneven socio-economic wealth distribution:

The latifundia system of land ownership hindered the process of economic development through South America for many centuries, and while reformist governments throughout the continent have initiated populist programmes, inequality will prevent the development of consumer economies for some time to come.

2. Nationalised industries and protectionist policies:

Where rightwing governments didn't allocate key industries to American investors at knock-down prices, leftwing governments kept vital industries such as petroleum in state hands, enriching the coffers of dictators rather than promoting the general good. Only since the Nineties has the opening of markets promoted transcontinental competition.

3. The cult of the caudillo:

Between the Spanish tendency to rule the regions through viceroys and the emergence of strongmen such as Bolivar and San Martin, the historical inclination towards rule through a caudillo, enforced through the study of the US model, saw legislatures largely ignored, and thus democracy has only permanently taken root in South America since the end of the Cold War.

4. Ethnic/racist tension:

While ostensibly, the universal use of Spanish as a lingua franca should make South American unity easier to accomplish than in Europe, national populations can be broken down into four mutually antagonistic groupings. The criollo are the most "pure" white community, descended from the original Spanish colonists, regarding themselves as superior to the other ethnic groupings, with Argentina, Chile and Uruguay largely composed of such settlers. More common are mestizos, descended from both whites and Indians, and the base population of most of the South American continent. Both look down on the mulattos, descended from Indians and blacks, most common in Brazil, but also Colombia and Venezuela. At the bottom of the traditional rung have been pure Indians, and their struggle to gain political power has been at the core of much social foment.

5. Physical geography:

Both the Andes and the Amazon have proved major physical barriers to regional trade and communication, but improved road and rail infrastructure, along with satellite and the Internet should assist endeavours towards regional integration.
It was tried before on a smaller scale in Central America.

Federal Republic of Central America - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It collapsed in 1838 due to most of the reasons that you have highlighted above.
 

Thac0man

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Is there a desire in South America for this unity?
Not really. South America is simply too diverse to come under any single unifying leadership or entity. Modern 'Bolivarianism' was the last proper attempt to excert some unified leadership, but it failed and only served to paper over the cracks within existing national boundries. In the end Chavez was a Venezuelan, and no other mandated leader would subserviate their own nationalism to a foreign leader. And that is the crux of the matter where certain types of government are involved, no matter where loud attempts at unity are attempted. Africans took Gadaffi's cash, and proclaimed him king of kings, but that, like international Bolivarianism, was just panto.

Even considering those who can broadly see eye to eye, its not always easy to see how they can get along. Not sticking to the leftists for any particular reason here, but the following are good examples of how complex the South American political landscape is; Kershner in Argentina, Maduro in Venezuela and Morales in Bolivia. At the time of their zentith the Peronists of Argentina appointed the Croatian fascist ex-leader Ante Pavlic as a security advisor. So even though they look left now, does their past promotion of popular socialist policies under military auspices not point to the Peronist movement being 'National Socialist'? Is Maduro, who inherited the modern Bolivarian movement from a militarist not also leading a 'National Socialist movement'? (Lets do away with the European notion that NS is a dirty word while we consider this). And does that not mean that both are less compatable with Evo Morales? Of the three Morales and Maduro should be closest, but politically its actually Kerchner and Maduro, and even that looks skin deep. In the end whether the examples taken are socialist or past fascist, politics in South American rarely trancends the need for nationalism. Hence 'south American unity' is never a starter.

The best example in the world of actual functional transnational unity is the EU. But every nation in it is a parlimentry democracy. That is a thing that has become rarer in South American in recent years, as a hand full of larger nations have veered towards executive power being in the hands of one man, the 'cult up Caudillo' that the OP mentions. Its not possible to sync so many Presidential executives, becauase what they represent in their respective national dominions is impossible to sacrafice in order to attain any sort of meaningful unity. To do so would erode the basis of their power. So much talk of South American unity in the past decade was hot air. If it were possible then South America's flirtation with fascist leaders during the cold war would have produced unity, but instead it produced many brush fire wars, which still define many countries national narrative in South America.
 

Truth.ie

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Oct 5, 2008
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Venezuala forces detained several mercenaries from Colombia who were plotting to kill President Maduro.
Another plot to buy military planes was also uncovered.
More sinister is a recent claim by Colombia, that they were considering joining NATO.
This has been condemned as a threat by neighbouring States, and President Morales of Bolivia has called for an urgent meeting of the Heads of States.
Why on Earth would Colombia be considering joining NATO at this stage?
It's clear they are plotting against Maduro.
 
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