Latin American Studies
Through U. S foreign policy, Latin American countries have been affected both positively and negatively. However, they have been primarily affected negatively by neoliberalism and polyarchy rather than positively. Due to the exploitation of Latin American lands and people, many Latino/as created resistance in both the United States and their home countries. With the foreign policies enforced in Latin American countries, it allows the United States to grow with the price of exploiting and hurting Latin America and its people.
Explicitly neoliberalism and polyarchy promotion affects Latin American in a less than positive way, causing ramifications on Latinos in the U. S. and in the countries themselves. Neoliberal globalization can be closely defined as a commercial conquest of more and more land. As the United States begins to take over more and more land, they begin to spread their way of thinking and acting in terms of industrial use. Neoliberal globalization affects Latin American in 3 ways; by reducing government participation in the economy, deregulation, and free trade liberalization.
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The first way that globalization is affecting Latin America is by reducing government participation in the economy. By doing so, this allows a decrease in public spending and privatization of public services and enterprises. The second way that globalization is affecting Latin American countries is by deregulation. Deregulation is the reduction of government oversight over the economy. By doing this, the United States has eliminated re-distributive policies, subsidies and price controls, and progressive taxation. With the elimination of these aspects, the market has the ability to decide what it would like to do rather than the government.
The third way is by free trade liberalization, which eliminates tariffs and promotes exports. With all of these factors affecting Latin America, it eventually leads to the concentration of wealth and resources. Along with Neoliberal Globalization, Polyarchy, another form of foreign policy, affects Latin American countries in various forms. Polyarchy is a system in which a small group governs and the mass participation in decision making is limited to choosing leaders in elections that are carefully managed by competing elites.
It is a policy initiative, both economic and political of the United States government, promoting neoliberal market and state institutional arrangements. Polarchy has the ability to replace dictators and authoritarian rule. It facilitates a rise of transnational oriented elites into the government and a co-opt mass democratization movements to undercut demand for fundamental change. Low- intensity democracy, which is partly another form of polyarchy redefines democracy to reconcile a fundamental contradiction with capitalism.
This contradiction allows there to be a concentration of wealth and power and it allows the production of two classes of people. Although these forms of foreign policies may portray a sense of aid towards Latin American countries, it actually leads to exploitation and unruliness of the land and the people. According to William I. Robinson and his article Promoting Polyarchy In Latin America: Oxymoron of the Market Economy, over the past thirty years the world economy has experienced dramatic crisis and restructuring as “globalization has unfolded”.
Structural changes have profoundly transformed the social and political fabric of each nation, “international relations, and the global system as a whole, giving rise to a new global capitalist”. The increasing global mobility of capital has allowed for the decentralization and functional integration around the world of “vast chains of productions and distribution and the unprecedented concentration of worldwide economic management”, control, and decision making power in transnational capital.
As national economies are dismantled and replaced by an integrated global production and financial system, new corporate and bureaucratic groups have emerged that effect Latin America. The interests of the markets primarily consist of advancing the global economy over any national economic project, which negatively impacts Latin American countries. The concept of polyarchy is an outgrowth of elitism theories that developed early in the twentieth century to counter the classic definition of democracy as power or rule by the people.
However, polyarchy or “low-intensity democracy” does not involve power of the people, much less an end to class democracy (Robinson). In Latin America, the “transitions to democracy” became a mechanism to facilitate the rise of power of transnational elites. Though, polyarchy is not a great system for Latin American countries it is still promoted. It is promoted in two ways; the first being the creation of new agencies or mechanisms. These agencies include governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, InterAmerican Development banks, and multi-lateral agencies.
Their goals are to create local civil society groups and cultivate local leaders in civic education, media training and leadership. As a result of this, Latin American countries are governed by Neoliberal regimes, , and reformist governments are threatened with economic coercion. Promotion of polyarhcy is a policy initiative that has become “transnationalized” under United States leadership. The United Stated and other core powers have conducted programs worldwide through diverse “democracy promotion instruments” as part of their foregin policy and “military/ security apparatuses” (Robinson).
Various international organizations have also established “democracy units and the IFI’s have made aid and access to global financial markets conditional “upon the recipient country having polyarchic systems”. With the advancement of globalization, the United States promotes polyarchy not to stabilize the interstate system but to “attempt to stabilize a new transnational capitalist historic bloc” (Robinson). With many Latin American citizens against the foreign policies that are set in their countries, they begin to resist in both Latin American countries and in the United States.
Transnational Latino resistance consists of the struggle Latino immigrants endure for their homeland as they are integrated into the United States. The struggles Latinos face for integration and rights in the United States are connected to the struggles that are occurring in Latin America because of the foreign policies that are set, which do harm to the countries rather than aid them. Many Latin American countries receive a lot of foreign aid money for development aid projects; however these many foreign projects fail.
Most foreign aid projects are designed to prepare infrastructure for businesses and are carried out by first world corporations. The projects only benefit the business owners rather than the people of Latin America. Corporations invest in foreign countries with the intent of extracting more in profit than the amount of their initial investment, which are usually environmentally harmful. Rather than trying to help the countries improve and rise, they are bringing them down only wanting to bring in more money into themselves, which means exploiting the land and the people of Latin America.
Despite the structural/ systemic nature of the problems faced, individuals can make an impact through collective action. Latino resistance is the start of a change in the Latin American countries, through their resistance; they can change the exploitation of their land and people. In the film South of the Border (2009) directed by Oliver Stone, we are able to see the resistance that parts of Latin America are doing to go against the United States rule over their countries.
We get an inside look of the Bolivarian Revolution, and the ideals of many other Latin American presidents. Rather than having an Americanized view of the continent and the people who rule it, we are able to view the realness and their actual goals for Latin America. Most of the presidents such as Hugo Chavez and Cristina Kirchner primarily want to separate themselves of the United States. They want their countries to be able to strive on their own, and to be able to have their own rules and regulations with no control from the Unites States government.
They do not want their land and people to be treated unfairly like they have been for many years. Transitions to polyarhcy provided transnational elites the opportunity to organize the state and build a better institutional framework to deepen neoliberal adjustments. In undertaking this adjustment, the new elites have set out to modernize the state and society without any fundamental “deconcentration” of property and wealth or class redistribution of political and economic power.
Instead, the elites have implemented a transnational model of development based on a “rearticulation with world markets, new economic activities linked to global accumulation, the contraction of domestic markets, the easy availability to transnational capital of cheap labor” and abundant natural resources as the regions “comparative advantage” in the global economy. (Robinson) Finally, foreign policies have affected Latin American countries in ways that’s cause ramifications on their lands and people.
With polyarchy, the elites are able to control countries of Latin America, usually causing unfair justice towards the people and the land. The projects that are set to help the Latin American countries are usually focused primarily on the market rather than the Latin American people. Due to unfair and unjust rulings set by the United States, many Latina/os are resisting many of the foreign policies that are set.
Robinson, William I. “Promoting Polyarchy in Latin America : The Oxymoron of “Market Democracy”” Nov. -Dec. 2011. Web. South of the Border. Dir. Oliver Stone. 2009. DVD.