Regional Integration Theory and The Dilemma of Latin American Integration

Oween Cesar Barranzuela CARRASCO


Undoubtedly Latin America is one of the most prominent regions in the world. It was conquered and rapidly colonized by the Spanish and Portuguese empires in the 15th century; European rule ended in the 19th century after the ideas of the American revolution, such as anti monarchism, freedom, and independence, spread to the center and south of the continent. Contemporary Latin America hosts 20 nation-states that share not only historical but cultural ties. Moreover, there are no linguistic barriers unlike in Europe or Asia, where language differences have made interaction challenging; in other words, communication between policymakers is easier in this region: except for Brazil where Portuguese is spoken, the predominant language in the rest of the countries is Spanish. Latin America has all the potential to integrate socially and economically and therefore, become a powerful international actor; however, this is far from happening. Latin America has long been considered United States' backyard and continues to be an area of dispute within the global influence plans of superpowers such as China, and Russia. This essay will analyze the Latin American integration process. First, through a deep literature review, I will answer What is the regional integration theory in International Relations. Then, in the framework of the analysis of the reasons for the failure of regional integration, this essay will defend that the constant ideological changes that vary between left and right governments have not allowed continuity in integration policies. Additionally, the weakness of regional economic cooperation will be discussed, indicating that the main trading partners of Latin American countries are outside the region. The last and no less important reason that will be considered is excessive nationalism, which has made no Latin American country willing to give up any minimal portion of its sovereignty for the construction of supranational institutions. Finally, this work will put forth certain recommendations that could help to strengthen the development of organizations between these countries. 

Anahtar Kelimeler

Regional Integration, Latin America, Nationalism, International Politics

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