Britain and Latin America In the early 1800’s Britain’s interest in Latin America grew as the Spanish lost the battle in Peru and Latin America was gaining its independence. Britain was able to open trade relations with the nearby nations and European markets. London invested their money in Latin America’s government and mining ventures. Britain’s interests and investments declined due to the lack of foreign investments from New York as the U.S. entered their Depression era of the 1920’s. Trade was reduced due to Britains financial crises caused by the Second World War. Internal civil wars and those with the Spanish and the U.S. caused friction and debt. Political instability caused by the military caudillo leaders increased.
Latin America’s Wars There were over 100 wars in Latin America and almost a dozen causes. Some of the reasons were due to the unrest felt by the population in regard to the social economic and political situation. The social system was unpopular and gave Europeans more privileges than the whites born there and even less to everyone else. The economy was tailored to the people born in Spain called peninsulares. The merchandise produced was made directly for Spain and the trade system was done by Europeans, for Europeans. The treatment of the lower class population was poor. Boundaries were not well defined due to geographical transfers of areas between the ruling individuals. Therefore, colonies with common borders wanted to claim one another’s land. These types of wars started after their independence and into the nineteenth century.
The French Intervention in Mexico, 1861-67 Napoleon III of France planned to make Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria emperor of Mexico, causing another devastating war. Benito Juarez’s government was in debt and owed Britain. Great Britain, France, Spain signed an agreement to collect money from tariffs at Vera Cruz. The U.S. was involved in the Civil War at this time and did not participate. Maximilian was voted on June 12. His large army overpowered Juarez’s small liberal army. Maximilian was unwise and frivolous and due to worldwide events, Napoleon wanted to pull out of Mexico. In 1865 the American Civil War ended and we left arms/ammo along the border for the Liberals to use. Between Austria’s defeat by Prussia and Germany’s intimidations, Napoleon needed to end the war and hurray back to France. The French intervention postponed the Mexican political fight between Liberals and Conservatives. Napoleon III lost his standing and support with France. Congress made Juarez president in 1871 and then Conservative, Porfirio Diaz, ruled Mexico from 1876 to 1911.
Remember the Alamo In 1813, San Antonio Texas was part of Mexico and under Spanish rule. Jose Antonio Navarro, leader of the Tejanos (original Texans) initiated the movement to be free from Spanish rule. Stephen Austin, from Missouri, heard about Texas and encouraged the depression poor people to come and buy the land. Austin created a successful colony of 1800 people. In 1834 General Antonio López de Santa Anna of Mexico abolished the federal constitution and sent 600 troops to Texas attacking their army. While Navarro was in Washington D.C., Santa Anna’s troops went to San Antonio. Jim Bowie, Colonel William Travis and a small group of Tejanos defended the Alamo. In March 1836 the Mexican’s assaulted the Tejanos and all defenders died at the Alamo. Three weeks later, Commander Sam Houston, initiated a surprise attack against Santa Anna’s army and with the battle cry, “Remember the Alamo”, defeated him.
Mexico: The Umbilical Cord Mexico is still a second world country and has challenges even though it joined NAFTA in 1994. Mexico is unable to keep up with the increased globalization and there is more drug and people trafficking to the U.S. Although we are neighbors, China is exporting the manufactured goods to us that Mexico should, but lacks the proper facilities. Therefore, jobs were lost, and they immigrated to the U.S. Almost half the population is in poverty. Mexicans immigrate to the U.S. to work, and then we have to pay for their health and education. The second language of the states located in the southwestern region is Spanish and American’s go to Mexico for inexpensive healthcare which is another example of our tied relationship. Central America uses North and South America for globalization purposes. They have high unemployment, poverty and have many gangs which compete with Mexico and end up coming across the border to the U.S. The U.S. lack of involvement in Central America has led China to step in to build businesses there and become a major investor.
Venezuela: Bolivar’s Revenge Simón Bolivar was a 19th century revolutionary who wanted to free Latin America from the Spanish. Venezuela was a major oil producing country, at the expense of all else. Hugo Chávez came to be president in 1998. He was unfair and corrupt and although he seemed to provide social programs, the people worked for only the government. Chávez makes millions in oil revenue and keeps the money. Chávez is against the United States and what it stands for. He buys weapons from Russia and signs oil agreements with Iran. His plan to bring south America together is to use a barter system from Cuba to Argentina. He is planning to build the longest pipeline from Venezuela to Argentina. The U.S. is more powerful than Venezuela, so Chávez says he will cut off our oil supply and sell to China instead. In exchange, China will help Venezuela build homes and a communication network. Europe is a big investor in Venezuela’s economy and Spain agrees with Chavez’s ideas about being independent from the U.S. Venezuela may develop into a prerevolutionary environment with population inequality, economic instability, and a lot of wealth from oil. Or it could resemble Bolivar’s dream to bring together Latin America people to be one of the continents of this world, one step up from a third-world continent.
Colombia: The Andean Balkans? Colombia’s coasts border both the Pacific and the Caribbean and all the Andean Mountain nations share its border as well. With its huge population which is the world’s third largest and pivotal geographical location, South America could increase its profits with China agreements and by connecting with other nations through an oil pipeline and highway. The Andean mountain ranges cut the country geographically, politically and culturally . The three political powers are the government, drug rebels and paramilitary groups and Colombia is known as the center of the drug trade and is the main source of drugs sold in the U.S. Since Bolivar, Alvaro Uribe is the only leader in the Andes who has been reelected and he agrees with the U.S. program of ‘war on drugs’. He has made sure all towns have police forces. The U.S. is not assisting economically or socially, but with the drug program only which is ending any support efforts. The Andes could be a great conduit with their current and proposed assistance in the areas of farming, corporations, banking, highways and telecom efforts from the EU, China and Beijing.
Brazil: The Southern Pole Brazil encompasses half of South America and it borders almost every country in the continent. Also, Latin America’s political goals rely on Brazil and its huge economy and environmental resources. It has a large export business, oil and gas fields as well as being the headquarter location for many large companies. Brazil has become a powerful Latin American country but it took three revolutions and in the past caused disparity in incomes and a falling military and economy. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was elected president in 2002, and it was planned that he would work on the social inequality issue, however he turned out to be corrupt and in 2006 his presidency was challenged by the Sao Paulo’s mayor. America stopped steel imports from Brazil even though it was Brazil’s steel that help America in WW II. Brazil exports to needy countries and also competes/compliments with its trade with China Brazil has two million people and has a huge range of races that is second only to the originating country. The large African population is at the bottom of the scale and the elite at the top. With the society split there is urban growth but it also has gangs, riots and gun deaths.
"Spiritual Leader of the Nation“– Eva Perón María Eva Duarte de Perón or as she was sometimes called, Eva Perón, was married to President Juan Perón and was the First Lady of Argentina from 1946-1952. In Spanish, she was lovingly called Evita. She was one of five children, born in the village of Los Toldos in Argentina. As a young teenager, she sought a radio and film career. Eva met her future husband in 1944 while attending a charity event for earthquake victims in San Juan. Years later, Eva was quite engaged in the country’s trade unions and she spoke up to support labor rights. In addition, she headed the first female political party in Argentina’s history, as well as other foundations and women’s rights groups. In 1951 she submitted her nomination for VP of Argentina. Many low- income and working class people supported her efforts, however the military opposed her idea and her health was deteriorating so she had to withdraw her candidacy. In 1952, she was given the official title of "Spiritual Leader of the Nation" by the Argentine Congress. Eva Perón was adored by the people of Argentina . Cristina Fernández de Kirchner made unprecedented history by being elected President of Argentina in 2007. she claims that the women of her era owe Eva a debt for "her example of passion and combativeness”.
The Panama Canal The Panama Canal is a waterway that allows people and goods via ships to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean in weeks instead of months saving thousands of miles. Panama belonged to Colombia who did not agree to let the U.S. build it, and consequently a revolution occurred resulting in Panama’s independence in 1903. The new government authorized Philippe Bunau-Varilla from France to discuss a treaty with the U.S. With this new treaty called The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, the U.S. could build the Panama Canal and control an area five miles wide on both sides of it. Panama was divided by the Canal Zone (the U.S. territory name) and it didn’t make the current residents happy, nor did it help their economy. By the 1960’s the Panamanian government and the U.S. had to find a way to solve the territorial concerns. Therefore, a treaty was signed in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter which stated that the U.S. would return 60% of the Canal Zone to Panama in 1979. On December 31, 1999 the canal and the Canal Area was returned to Panama.