The History of Modern Latin America

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The history of modern Latin America begins after the Second World War when the economic changes wrought by the war, namely the shift towards manufacturing and urbanization, produced political and diplomatic changes across the Americas. The end of the war led to increased imports from the West, reducing the competitiveness of Latin American industry. Additionally, falling crop prices led to increasing urbanization. The result of these economic and demographic shifts was the rise of a populist movement throughout Latin America. Populism in Latin America was characterized by a combination of nationalism, often coded with the language of anti-imperialism and anti-Americanism, and class politics. However, populism did not appeal solely to workers; rather, populist leaders attempted to create broad coalitions of people who believed that Latin American countries needed economic and political reform. The populists were generally opposed by the rural elite, which had held power throughout Latin America since the age of colonialism. Additionally, many Latin American leaders began to embrace dependencia theory; i.e. they believed that Latin America would remain poor and under the control of Western business interests as long as Latin America remained dependant on Western, specifically American, capital and imports. These leaders advocated Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI), a form of industrialization in which a country would become self-sustaining by replacing imports with domestic production. Often ISI involved substantial state interference into the economy. Examples of populist governments in Latin America include the Peronists in Argentina and the Vargas years in Brazil. The actions taken by the Institutional Rev... ... middle of paper ... ...fias, and drug cartels. The people became divided and their safety is compromised. The correlation between kidnapping incidents and economic difficulty, seen in the figure below, support this claim. Further studies have shown more overall connections between violence, poverty, and social instability: This section may need more. Bloc Positions – Latin America: It is hard to speak of specific blocs in Latin America, particularly as nations change and leaders or political parties rise and fall from power. In general, there is a divide between countries that tilt towards the Left, e.g. Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia, and countries that tilt towards the United States, e.g. Mexico and Colombia. Additionally, within these large groups there are varieties of opinions about economic, diplomatic, and political matters. This section needs more.
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