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OCLA 2140 - Latin American Countries in today's World Diplomacy

Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

Latin America and the Caribbean, a vast subcontinent made of 33 sovereign nations, has undergone major political and social transformations during the first years of the Twenty First Century. This course will explore the impact of those changes in the way that Latin American and Caribbean countries relate to each other, and how they affect the role that this region plays in world affairs.

For the first time in two centuries of independent life, democracy and pluralism have becomepredominant, both at national and regional levels. Within the overwhelming majority of the countries that compose this geographic ensemble, political coalitions struggle for power in a bitter, and even harsh, but peaceful and legal competition.The electoral victory of some left wing organizations in general elections marked the entrance of the region in an era of political alternation, and forced the traditional elites to discover the rigors of the opposition.More recently, conservative coalitions have gained political momentum and threaten a long lasting progressive hegemony.
At a continental level, Governments led by radically opposed political forces learned to coexist, interact and even cooperate, to the point of achieving the highest level ever of regional integration, symbolized by the recently created Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
We will try to understand the dynamics of Latin American Integration and its close connection with the balance of power inside the member countries.

As it is well known, Latin America holds the infamous title of world champion for unequal income distribution. Still, it has obtained great achievements in terms of poverty reduction during the last 15 years. In some countries, social inequalities have even narrowed. Some have explained this asa mere mechanic effect of the commercial surplus generated by the boom in the prices of commodities, which represent a sizeable portion of the region's exports. Infact,a continuous process of empowerment has resulted in Latin Americans having a greater say in the shaping of their countries' political agenda,exercising more actively their citizenship, and hence aligning more accurately governmental action and people's will.Nonetheless, the collapse in the international prices of commodities has undermined economic prosperity in the region.
We will analyse the impact of social change in the way these countries exercise their sovereignty and how it influences their practices in foreign policy.

Long time described as the United States of America's backyard, Latin America and the Caribbean has also emerged as a global actor. Countries formerly known for their beauty queens or football players became home to politicians of considerable influence: From LuizInácio “Lula” Da Silva to Hugo Chávez, from José “Pepe” Mujica to the Pope Francis, Latin America's voice resonates throughout the world. Both bilaterally and regionally, Latin American countries have established far-reaching alliances with other emerging powers, such as the members of the BRICS.Countries like China and, to a lesser extent, Russia, have even challenged the United State's predominant economic and military predominancein the region, and have tried to erode its role as political hegemon.
We will study the newly found global role of Latin America and the Caribbean, and its geopolitical importance in the eyes of the world main powers.


  • MEDEIROS PASSOS, Anais (Etudiante doctorante)
  • PORRAS PONCELEON, Temir A. (Président executif)