British Interest in Latin America As the Latin American wars of independence was close to ended with the defeat of Spanish forces in Peru, Britain was looking to expand its economic interest. Britain had been trying to gain influence in Latin America but merchants, privateers and ministers were unable to break into the monopoly of the Spanish and Portuguese empires. British mania over Latin America rose dramatically in 1825 as eager speculators invested their savings in loans to the young governments and in mining enterprises. However, the speculation in loans and mining stocks turned suddenly into a commercial and financial crisis.
British Lose Ground Despite the commercial and financial crises in the 1870’s to the 1890’s, Britain's economic interest in Latin America Peaked. Yet by the twentieth century Britain's influence had disappeared. The First World War turned Britain from an international creditor into a debtor, making it impossible for London to gain its prewar eminence on overseas finance. It also permitted the United States to gain ground in Latin America. The depression added further blows. The Second World War reduced trade even further and stuck Britain in a deeper debt. Investments in Latin America were sold to pay off the dept to Latin America. Latin America no longer possessed any significance.
Evolution of Latin America Latin America started as a frontier of European colonization, aside from Mexico and Andes, Spanish and Portuguese settlements were largely established on the coast. Enormous disparities in wealth, income, and social status were evident all over Latin America. Independence stimulated a reorientation of Latin America’s external economic structure. This caused a serious disruption of the domestic economies as the Spaniards and Portuguese fled and took with them large amounts of capital. Despite a successful gaining of freedom, Spanish America’s political future remained undefined. Governments come and go at the whim of military veterans of the independence wars. The reason for the political instability is that most governments remained short of money.
Evolution cont. Outcomes of the political struggles varied, Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia provide extreme examples of instability. Between 1833 and 1855 the Mexican presidency changed hands 36 times. Brazil gradually developed a political structure dependent on the ability of politicians to mediate between the landowners and imperial government. Chile established an authoritarian constitution and with the exception of two short civil wars they remained internally peaceful until 1891.
The Second World: End of the Monroe Doctrine Latin America has long seemed geopolitically illogical, oceans away from the world’s principal strategic theaters. But now they are casting their eyes West and East to avoid the North. If America could establish a solid relationship with Latin America the western hemisphere may become self sufficient and avoid the turbulence of Eurasia. Latin America has always been caught in the imperialism of others and unable to form their own. America’s Manifest Destiny was not just a westward expansion but to also control the southern hemisphere.
The Second World: Mexico The North American Free Trade Agreement was supposed to send Mexico into a first world country, but instead “revealed it as a third world country instead of a first” remarked a journalist. Oil used to be Mexico’s main export, it then moved to manufactured goods that accounted for 80% of exports. However assembly plants began to shut down and move to China causing many workers to lose their jobs. With little jobs and massive spikes of illegal immigration into the U.S., Mexico’s problems may become America’s even faster than they already are.
The Second World: Venezuela Venezuela more powerfully embodied the death of the Monroe Doctrine. Because of its oil Venezuela could become a major energy provider, but odds are against it, otherwise they would just be another third world country with occasional coupe’s. The region suffers from bad latitude but also “bad attitude” as Hugo Chavez swept to presidential power. Chavez uses oil the same way every other Latin country has, to serve political ends more than to actually mitigate inequality.
The Second World: Brazil Brazil is the United States of South America, its size alone makes it the continent’s natural leader. Brazil’s global role is based purely on its environmental resources and massive economy. It has taken three revolutions for Brazil to achieve becoming Latin America’s great power. Guided by its national mythology of coequal status with the United States, Brazil has looked at other counties to become the anchor of Latin diplomacy.
Hugo Chavez He is the 56th and current president of Venezuela since 1999. He chose a career as a military officer, after becoming dissatisfied with the political system, which he saw as corrupt, he began the revolutionary Bolivarian Movement. In 1992 he was arrested after leading a failed military coup. He is a prominent opponent of the United States foreign policy, which he describes as imperialistic. He allies strongly with the socialist governments of Fidel Castro in Cuba. His Influence in Latin America has led time magazine to include him among the worlds 100 most influential people in 2005 and 2006.
Brazilian General Election: 2010 The first round of the election was held on Sunday, October 3, 2010. Citizens were voting for a successor of President LuizInacio Lula da Silva of the Workers’ Party, who was constitutionally prohibited from running a third consecutive term. 2010 would be the first time he did not run for president. The first round was unresolved so a second round was held on October 31. DilmaRousseff of the Workers’ Party won and became Brazil’s first female president.