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Latin American integration


Latin American integration

The integration of Latin America has a history going back to political purpose did not become prominent again until the post-World War II period, which saw both the start of the Cold War and a climate of international cooperation that led to the creation of institutions such as the United Nations. It would not be until the mid-twentieth century that uniquely Latin American organizations were created.


  • Nineteenth-century precedents 1
  • Twentieth century 2
  • Uniquely Latin American organizations 3
  • Organization membership 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6

Nineteenth-century precedents

At the end of the wars of independence (1808–1825), many new sovereign states emerged in the Americas from the former Spanish colonies. The South American independence leader Simón Bolívar envisioned various unions that would ensure the independence of Spanish America vis-à-vis the European powers—in particular Britain—and the expanding United States. Already in his 1815 Cartagena Manifesto, Bolívar advocated that the Spanish American provinces should present a united front to the Spanish in order to prevent their being re-conquered piecemeal, though he did not yet propose a political union of any kind. During the wars of independence, the fight against Spain was marked by only an incipient sense of nationalism. It was unclear what the new states that replaced the Spanish Monarchy should be. Most of those who fought for independence identified with both their birth provinces and Spanish America as a whole, both of which they referred to as their patria, a term which incorporates meanings contained today in the English words "fatherland" and "homeland."[1]

As Bolívar made advances against the royalist forces, he began to propose the creation of various large states and confederations, inspired by Francisco de Miranda's idea of an independent state consisting of all of Spanish America, which Miranda variously called "Colombia," the "American Empire" or the "American Federation."[2] In 1819 Bolívar was able to successfully create a nation called "Colombia" (today referred to as Gran Colombia) out of several Spanish American provinces and in 1825 he proposed joining it to Peru and Upper Peru in a confederation or state that he suggested be called the "Bolivian Federation" or "Bolivian Union", and which historians refer to as the "Andean Confederation," but this never came about.[3][4][5]

Other large states that emerged from the disintegration of the Spanish Monarchy also failed to prove long-lived. The Federal Republic of Central America, created out of the former Captaincy General of Guatemala, ceased to exist in 1840. The United Provinces of South America was never viable and suffered from nearly constant civil war between its provinces and the capital, Buenos Aires. Argentina would not become united until the 1850s. The 1836 attempt to reunite the key regions of the former Viceroyalty of Peru in a Peru-Bolivian Confederation fell apart after three years. Only Mexico, which consisted of the core areas of the Viceroyalty of New Spain remained as a physically large state in Latin America. The other regional exception was the Empire of Brazil, from which Portugal essentially declared independence in 1820 by demanding the return of the Portuguese king and court from Rio de Janeiro.

Bolívar also proposed a separate league of the newly independent Spanish American republics, and to this end organized the Amphictyonic Congress or the Congress of Panama in 1826. Bolívar did not invite Brazil, since it was a monarchy and he saw it as a threat to the new republics' existence, nor did he invite the government at Buenos Aires, since the region lacked any real political unity to effectively be represented. Only after pressure was placed on him, was the United States invited to the congress, but one representative died en route and the other arrived after deliberations were concluded. Britain was present only as an observer. The congress did draft a "Treaty of Union, League, and Perpetual Confederation," a pact of mutual defense and commerce, but only Gran Colombia ratified it. Gran Colombia itself fell apart in 1830. Because of these failed projects, Latin American politicians often speak of regional integration as "Bolivar's dream."

The Pan American Union headquarters building in Washington, D.C. in 1943.

Sixty-three years after the Amphictyonic Congress, a secretariat, the Commercial Bureau of the American Republics, was created by eighteen American nations in 1889 at the First Pan-American Conference to promote trade in the Western Hemisphere. The Commercial Bureau began functioning on April 14, 1890. The bureau was renamed the International Commercial Bureau at the Second International Conference of 1901–1902. At the Fourth Pan-American Conference in 1910, the name of the organization was changed to the Union of American Republics and the International Commercial Bureau became the Pan American Union.

Twentieth century

The experience of Secretary General and the organization began functioning in December 1951.

The 2007 Ibero-American Summit in Santiago, Chile.

By the late twentieth century, many Latin American leaders saw a need for an alternative organization that was not dominated by the United States. The experience of dealing with the 1970s and 1980s communist insurgencies in Central America through the creation of the Contadora Group, which did not include the United States, inspired the creation of the Rio Group in 1986. The Rio Group did not create a secretariat or permanent body and instead chose to rely on yearly summits of heads of states.

Latin America also reached out to Europe, in particular its former colonial Guadalajara, Mexico. The result was the creation of the Iberoamerican Community of Nations, which holds yearly summits of its heads of state.

Uniquely Latin American organizations

Trade, not politics, also served as the principal issue around which various, uniquely Latin American regional organizations were formed after mid-century. On October 14, 1951 the governments of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua signed a new treaty creating the Central American Common Market, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, and the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA) nine years later on December 13, 1960.

Other regional trade blocs were also established in this period. The Latin American Free Trade Association (ALALC) was formed by the 1960 Treaty of Montevideo, which was signed by Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. The signatories hoped to create a common market in Latin America and offered tariff rebates among member nations. Its main goal was to eliminate all duties and restrictions on the majority of their trade within a twelve-year period. ALALC came into effect on January 2, 1962.[6] Inspired by the European Communities, in 1980 the ALALC was transformed into the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) by the second Treaty of Montevideo to pursue the more ambitious goal of improving the economic and social development of the region through the establishment of the common market.

In 1969 the Andean Pact was founded by Mercosur Parliament, which should begin functioning in 2010. Earlier in 1987 a Latin American Parliament was created and is located in Panama City.

In December 2004 Mercosur and the Andean Community of Nations signed a reciprocal associate-member status agreement and issued the Cusco Declaration stating that that they would create a political South American Community of Nations. The Declaration purposely invoked "Bolívar's dream," noting that it would be partially realizing his vision of uniting Latin America.[10] The original name of the union was changed to the current one, the Union of South American Nations, in April 2007. In the press, the phrase "United States of South America" was bandied about as an analogy to the United States to reflect the economic and political power that this union would have on the world stage.[11][12][13][14][15][16][17]

Organization membership

For Anglo America and Latin America
 Canada x o o
 USA x o
 Mexico x x x o o x x x x x
 Guatemala x x x x o x x x o
 El Salvador x x x x o x x x o
 Honduras a x x x o x x x o
 Nicaragua x x x x o x x x x
 Costa Rica x x x x o x x x a
 Dominican Republic x x x o x o x x a o
 Panama x x x o x o x x x o
 Cuba a x x x x x x x
 Venezuela x x x o x x x x x x x
 Colombia x x x o x x a x x x x x
 Ecuador x x o x x a x x x x x
 Peru x x o x x a x x x x x
 Bolivia x x x x a x x x x x
 Chile x x o x a a x x x x x
 Argentina x x o x a x x x x x
 Uruguay x x x a x x x x x o o
 Paraguay x x x a x x x x x o o
 Brazil x x o x a x x x x x
 Antigua and Barbuda x x x x x x
 Bahamas x x x x x
 Barbados x x x x x
 Belize x x x x x x x
 Dominica x x x x x x o
 Grenada x x x x x x o
 Guyana x x x x x x x
 Haiti x x x x x x o
 Jamaica x x x x x x
 Saint Kitts and Nevis x x x x x
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines x x x x x x
 Saint Lucia x x x x x
 Suriname x x x x x x x
 Trinidad and Tobago x x x x x o
 Montserrat x x
 Anguilla a a
 Bermuda a
 British Virgin Islands a a
 Cayman Islands a
 Turks and Caicos Islands a a
 Aruba a o
 Netherlands Antilles a o
 France o a o
 Puerto Rico o
 U.S. Virgin Islands
map with observers

Legend:   [x - member] — [a - associate or acceding] — [o - observer]

x - member; o - observer; a - associate/acceding

See also


  1. ^ Chasteen, John Charles (2008). Americanos: Latin America's Struggle for Independence. Oxford University Press, 160-161. ISBN 978-0-19-517881-4
  2. ^ Miranda, Francisco de. "Proyectos constitucionales de Miranda" in Rudolfo Cortés, Santos (ed.) (1960). Antología documental de Venezuela, 1492-1900: Materiales para la enseñanza de la historia de Venezuela. Caracas, 163. OCLC 569544
  3. ^ Bushnell, David (1970). The Santander Regime in Gran Colombia. Westport: Greenwood Press, 325-335. ISBN 0-8371-2981-8
  4. ^ Chasteen, Americanos, 164-165.
  5. ^ Bolívar to Antonio José de Sucre (1826) in Bolívar, Simon, Vicente Lecuna and Harold A. Bierck (1951). Selected Writings of Bolívar. New York: Colonial Press, 590-592, 633-634. OCLC 8633466
  6. ^ Schmitter, Philippe C. (1964). Mexico and Latin American Economic Integration. California: Institute of International Studies, 1.
  7. ^ Venezuela officially welcomed into Mercosur trade bloc during ceremony in Brazil (31 July 2012) Reuters. Retrieved on 1 August 2012
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "Bolivia will hold double membership of Mercosur and the Andean Community". MercoPress. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  10. ^ Text of the Cusco Declaration (In English)
  11. ^ The phrase has been used in the past for this same purpose. It has never been officially proposed or used. Collazo, Ariel B. La Federación de Estados: Única solución para el drama de América Latina. n/d, circa 1950-1960. OCLC  25422930
  12. ^ Duhalde, Eduardo (July 13, 2004). "Hacia los Estados Unidos de Sudamérica." La Nación.
  13. ^ Grorjovsky, Nestor (July 14, 2004). "Duhalde señaló que el Mercosur es un paso para la Unión Sudamericana" Reconquista-Popular.
  14. ^ Collazo, Ariel (July 15, 2004). "Los Estados Unidos de Sudamérica" La República.
  15. ^ July 29, 2004,interview with Mexican President Vicente Fox by Andrés Oppenheimer. Mexico:Presidencia de la República.
  16. ^ "Estados Unidos de Sudamérica" Herejías y silencios. (November 22, 2005).
  17. ^ Duhalde, Eduardo (December 6, 2004). "Sudamérica y un viejo sueño." Clarín.
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