ABSTRACT

Latin–American regionalism has occupied an important, if still under-recognized, place in the history of regionalism, multilateralism, and international organization. Regional organizations have proliferated at the sub-regional and continental levels, while Latin–American states have been active participants in multilateral institutions. The geographical proximity of the United States has been a constant factor conditioning and influencing regional behavior. Sometimes Latin–Americans have chosen similar, even complementary ways to position themselves and their region in the wider world, displaying a strong sense of common purpose. At other times, different states and non-state actors have moved down alternative, sometimes competitive pathways, thereby generating interregional tensions and rivalries. This chapter tracks the development of various regionalisms in the Americas since independence and their relationships with wider global processes. It argues that while Latin–American regionalism has had a complex and often controversial trajectory over the longue durée, there are also identifiable patterns that highlight continuities from the early post-independence days until the present. The findings show that Latin America has much to offer to contemporary debates about regionalism and multilateralism.