11 September 2011

Latin America and the Shifting Sands of Global Power

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Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies (ANCLAS) first conference:

Latin America and the Shifting Sands of Global Power

Since the introduction of the Monroe Doctrine Latin America has been seen as the preserve of the United States, a region subject to whims of Washington, beholden to the financial markets of New York. This pattern held throughout the Twentieth Century, with US direct and covert intervention playing a critical role in numerous unscheduled regime changes. Economic fortunes rode on the appraisal of US government technocrats and their quiet whispers to colleagues at the IMF, World Bank and on Wall Street. Today, the reality is somewhat different. The US still matters, but it no longer dominates. Benediction from Washington is no longer an essential political good (or curse). Regional economies continue to look North, but they also increasingly turn to neighbouring countries and new markets to the East and throughout the South. The result is a change in the international influences on Latin America and a corresponding shift in how regional countries see themselves inserted into the international system. Moreover, there is no one, set approach in Latin America to the emerging global system. Different countries throughout the region are approaching the new regional and international realities in different, disparate and sometimes competing ways.

The purpose of this conference is to look at the new possibilities for international insertion facing countries in Latin America. Reports from the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the World Bank, the IMF and the OECD are consistently pointing to the sustained economic growth in the region. Economies are for the most part strong, experiencing the Global Financial Crisis as a speed bump, not a catastrophe. Foreign direct investment is pouring into the region and, perhaps more interestingly, flowing freely within it and back out to the global South. The questions that thus arise are who are the drivers in this change, what does it mean for US-Latin American relations, what does it mean for existing regional arrangements, and what sorts of opportunities does this present for Australia?

For more information please visit: http://anclas.anu.edu.au

H.W. Arndt Lecture Theatre 1, Australian National University

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