An Analysis of the Foreign Policy of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (Part 1)
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Uniwersytet Warszawski
Publication date: 2016-06-30
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2016;52(2):123-142
The article proposes a method for analysing the foreign policy of Latin America through identification of certain common features of the entire region and elements characteristic of each Latin American country. There are certain risks involved in this kind of analysis. On the one hand, the countries of the region share certain common traits (language, culture, religion, historical heritage), which encourages generalisations, but on the other hand, this gives rise to numerous risks of overinterpretation in drawing conclusions. Jeanne Hey, however, lists five factors which, in her opinion, weigh in favour of performing a combined analysis of the foreign policies of the countries of the region: (1) Latin America and the Caribbean were the target of European colonial expansion; although most Latin American countries secured their independence in the early 19th century whereas Caribbean countries followed suit only in the second half of the 20th century, they still share the experience of struggling against neo-colonialism; (2) the economies of most countries of the region have a relatively weak position in the global market and remain dependent on exports, mainly of necessity goods, despite many attempts to change that state of affairs; (3) the countries have developed a specific hierarchical social model where descendants of European colonisers are at the top of the social ladder and all the other citizens are at the bottom; (4) all countries of the region need to take into account the hegemonic pressure of the United States in conducting their foreign policies (albeit it manifests itself differently in Central America and the Caribbean than it does in South America); and finally, (5) the abundant literature concerning this part of the world proves the existence of a multitude of interrelations and interdependencies in the region. On this basis, the author analyses the foreign policies of selected Latin American and Caribbean countries.
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