Although Latin America is commonly referred to as “America’s backyard,” within the past couple years, relations and favoritism have switched. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), countries like: Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua have already begun to separate from U.S. relations and promote the ideology for less U.S. influence within their southern sphere.
“On the other hand, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Colombia have warm relations with the United States; the United States has free trade agreements (FTAs) with the first three,” said Sydney Weintraub, CSIS analyst.
Other major players like Argentina and Brasil want to stay neutral within their continent and make any relations they can, as they are both economic leaders within the region.
Within the past decade, the economic situation of Latin America has greatly improved as their vast amounts of natural resources, among other things, have been sufficiently cultivated for exportation worldwide. Due to more boisterous problems in the Middle East or brash actions made by Russia in its former Soviet territory, the growth and deals made within Latin America are normally overlooked, as well as their increased relations with various strong world powers, like China and Russia.
“The gross domestic product of Latin American countries as a whole grew by more than 5 percent a year between 2003 and 2008.”
During those time slots of 2003 to 2008, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, and Uruguay were the leaders of this growth. However, other countries heavily dependent on U.S. trade and relations did not experience the same growth, bringing down the GDP average for Latin America. For example, Mexico suffered from their dependency on U.S. relations which negatively affected the Mexican economy during the Financial Crises of 2007-2008.
Overall, the 5 percent positive growth made by Latin America in this time span, “was made possible by the new economic policies, although abetted by China’s large demand for primary commodities, benefiting especially countries like Argentina and Brazil,” according to the CSIS report.
The subtle plummet in certain countries’ economies due to U.S. trade relations eventually resulted in indebted nations. These countries, along with others then began to turn to alternate partners to help them out. These precursor events help to explain recent increased aid and relations, given and created by the Chinese and the Russians governments.