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Recomposition of Latin America

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  1. Introduction
  2. The Mosaic of identities
    1. Punjabi
    2. The Sindhis
    3. Mohajirs
    4. Pathan and Baluchi minorities
    5. Kashmiris
  3. The political construction of national identity
    1. The notion of national identity
    2. Pakistani Muslim identity or identities ?
    3. Language:Unifying or divisive ?
    4. Foreign policy and national identity
  4. Conclusion

The succession of Fidel Castro by his younger brother Raul may suggest possible mutations in one of the few Latin American countries resistant to democracy. Since the 1990s, changes have indeed taken place throughout Latin America. A new generation of political leaders came to power through the ballot box. Despite this renewed political and economic strength, many countries in the South American continent are struggling to unite and make their voice heard internationally.

Some countries stand out and want to play a leading role on the continent. Long marked by chronic instability, political life in Latin America is experiencing a democratic renewal. The new political leaders now come to power through the ballot box. Economic development has given some hope to the people despite sporadic attacks. Nevertheless, poverty and social inequality remain high.

The year 2006 was a landmark for democracy in South America. Ten presidential elections were held, which reflects the will of the people to consolidate the democratic form of government. Even the most contested elections have undermined democratic institutions (Mexico in 2006 or Argentina in 2007). In addition, symbolic events such as the election of an Indian, Evo Morales in Bolivia in 2005 and election of the first female president in Chile, Michelle Bachelet, confirmed the change of political attitudes in Latin America.

This series of elections has confirmed the turn taken, mainly by South American governments, towards the "left".All these 'left' governments emerged in favor of popular discontent against the often deplorable living conditions. Thus, they advocated for social justice and reducing inequalities, promoting growth and sustainable development.

However, they have to face persistent problems such as corruption in government or rigging of elections. The success of democracy is tarnished by the persistence of gray areas that affect virtually all Latin American states. Some neighborhoods are controlled by criminal gangs or bands who do not hesitate to use firearms, as in Rio de Janeiro. Guerrilla is sometimes the expression of the struggle against the powers that be. And the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) impose their rule over vast areas where they engaged in drug trafficking.

The economic upswing of recent years continued in 2007 with growth rates between 4.5 and 10%. It focuses on the marketing of agricultural products and raw materials whose prices have increased steadily and in an increasingly competitive industry. Now the continent holds certain attractiveness to foreign investors.

Minerals and oil experienced a surge in price (100% increase for oil and 250% for a ton of copper between 2004 and 2006) that allowed states like Venezuela and Chile to save substantial foreign exchange inflows. The modernization of farming systems and the continued expansion of agricultural land have increased yields and production including corn, and beef.

Mexico is rapidly becoming the workshop of the United States with maquiladoras. Brazil and Argentina have welcomed the assembly line production system of automobiles in Asia and Europe, including brands Renault and Peugeot.Foreign investors engaged in oil production, tourist resorts and in major infrastructure projects that bloomed with the explosion of urban centers in cities like Rio and Buenos Aires.

Tags: Foreign investors, democracy in Latin America, modernization of farming systems

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