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Latin American Economies After the Cold War

The Cold War had various effects on the countries of Latin America. One of the major impacts was the political tension between two major forces, left- and right-wing groups. The USA and the USSR two super powers aimed at increasing the zones of their influence. Thus, the USSR supported Marxist, left-wing groups, who often used terroristic and totalitarian tools, while the USA supported right-wing groups that sometimes could use the same totalitarian measures (for example, Pinochet).

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Thus, such countries as El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua were ruled by the rightwing forces that often became dictatorships. Whereas, Cuba is a conventional example of the Latin American country where left-wing leaders have been in power. Importantly, the Cold War brought political, economic and social unrest in Latin America.

The economies of Latin American countries were developing at a high pace in the 1960s, and international financial institutions such as the World Bank as well as commercial financial institutions eagerly provided loans to the countries’ governments. However, the oil crisis that took place in the 1970s made the countries of Latin America seek for more loans. More so, the countries producing and exporting oil also borrowed money as they wanted to further develop the industry.

However, in the 1980s, the countries’ debts became huge, and it became clear that they would be unable to pay back. The effects of the debt crisis included stagnation of the countries’ economies, the decrease in the GDP, increased unemployment, significant inflation and so on. In the mid-1980s, Latin American countries reshaped their economies, and the majority of them chose the export-oriented industrialization models, which enabled them to pay back a significant amount of their debts.

The democratization of the countries in Latin America led to the strengthening of demands for autonomy from the USA. One of the major reasons for that is the development of the societies where people acknowledge the advantages and disadvantages of their economies and are eager to make their own decisions. They do not want to be the satellites of the USA that uses their resources and markets its products. Democratization means the dialogue between many political forces that represent certain demands of particular groups of people. At that, in many cases, the major goal is to develop the country, which can be achieved through autonomy and real independence.

The US power is declining in Latin America due to a number of reasons. One of the reasons is the democratization of the countries and their will to obtain the real autonomy from the USA. The US government seems to pay little attention to preserving its influence in the region, and the recent development of Cuba-US relationship is rather insufficient to maintain the US dominance in the continent. One of the illustrations of the decline of the US power is the way Latin American countries develop their international relations.

Many of these countries (for example, Venezuela as well as Cuba) develop closer military and economic ties with Russia and other BRICS countries. They also develop closer ties with each other forming various regional projects like Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

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The fact that the countries of Latin America are trying to develop the relationship with other countries is a reaction to the modern conditions, but it will remain in the long run. The contemporary world is highly globalized, and the development of international ties strengthens economies of different countries. Such rising markets as China and India may soon become quite important partners of Latin American states that have the necessary resources for these nations.

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