Why has not integration been possible in Latin America?

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In Latin America, the integration processes have not fulfilled their objective and the region remains fragmented

Why has not integration been possible in Latin America?

The influence of third parties or institutions in the internal and external development of countries is a feature of globalization. In recent years, the creation of regional organizations and mechanisms that articulate efforts on various issues have been promoted throughout the world, in order to solve regional problems and seek economic and social development through cooperation among States.

Leer en español: ¿Por qué no ha sido posible la integración en América Latina?

In recent years, Latin governments have vehemently sought the creation of supranational organizations to integrate the region. According to a report by the BBC, there are many initiatives but little compliance and will on the part of the States, which has caused the history of Latin integration to have as its protagonist various regional mechanisms. With this, we can highlight the  Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), an economic integration initiative that had great goals, among them, promote prosperity through increasing economic integration and free trade among the countries of the hemisphere, but was hit by one of the great obstacles of the region: Political differences.

Causes of Latin American non-integration

A lot has been said in the academy about this phenomenon. Latin America has worked to integrate but the results are not as expected.

According to the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), one of the most important obstacles is the institutional weakness of regional organizations. "Latin America and the challenges for regional integration", points out the Faculty. The institutionality of integration has great designs but the binding weakness of the agreements, the limited capacity of some Member States and the lack of will of the governments cause the failure of these integration models.

Likewise, the presence of many regional platforms, sponsored by different governments, prevents the generation of a unique identity as a region. Which causes that the States prioritize initiatives and discard mechanisms, hindering the creation of synergies in the continent.

Likewise, according to the BBC, the complementarity of Latin American economies prevents effective and efficient integration. The Latin economy has been characterized by having as an economic priority the relationship with the United States and China, that is, the political-economic stance is aimed at creating trade agreements with governments outside the continent. According to data delivered by the medium, Latin American interregional trade is 20%.

Read also: The decline of Unasur: The rejection of the new headquarters in Bolivia

However, as noted above, the difference in political current is the greatest obstacle to integration. The socialism of the 21st century promoted a model of alternative development and detached from the neoliberalism of the great Western powers. The reason why, the region began to debate on the model of development that should be adopted and the points of the regional agenda that had to be taken IGNORE INTO account since there are a diversity of interests in the area, which vary according to the political ideology.

Consequently, it can be concluded that the institutionality of integration is still fragmented and the obstacles or limitations are stronger than the political will of the governments. The crisis in UNASUR is a recent example that compiles the previously mentioned causes and is the reflection of a history of failures in regional integration.

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After the failure of Latin American integration due to large and limited mechanisms, governments have chosen to make bilateral or multilateral alliances. Agreements or alliances between governments are becoming more common. The results of these agreements generate higher yields and the prospection of these alliances are encouraging.

The Alliance for the Pacific made up of Peru, Colombia, Chile, and Mexico is an example of the above. The promising future of partnership generates optimism in the region, advances in education, migration, and trade create a positive outlook for the future.

Given the above, Latin America can be studied as a region in which ideological clashes and diversity of interests have impeded the integration of States in the region. The variety of actors at the regional level complicates the panorama, which has led to governments seeking other means to achieve their regional interests.


LatinAmerican Post I Bryan Andrés Murcia

Translated from:'¿Por qué no ha sido posible la integración en América Latina?'


* Writer's opinion does not represent this newspaper

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