Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Vargas Llosa, Mario. "The Paradoxes of Latin America." AMERICAN INTEREST 3.3 (2008).

What does it mean to feel you are Latin American? It means being aware that the territorial boundaries dividing our nations are artificial, imposed arbitrarily during the colonial years. And neither our leaders during the emancipation period nor the republican governments that followed bothered to correct that situation. In fact, they often worsened things by further separating and isolating societies whose commonalities were deeper than their petty differences. This balkanization of Latin America, unlike what took place in North America, where the Thirteen Colonies became the United States, has been one of the conspicuous factors in our underdevelopment. It has engendered nationalism, war and conflict, bleeding our nations and wasting natural resources that could have been used for modernization and progress. Only in the cultural arena was Latin American integration a reality, the result of experience and necessity—everyone who writes, composes, paints or practices any creative endeavor discovers that what unites us is more important than what separates us. In other areas—politics and economics, especially—attempts to unify governmental actions and markets have always been thwarted by the nationalist reflexes ingrained in the continent. That is why all of the plans conceived to unite the region have failed. . . . Read the rest here:

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