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2. Partial Achievements, Partial Failures

It is possible to summarise the major trends of Latin America through accessing the strengths and weakness of key developments within the region. It some cases, policies can be viewed as both partial success and partial failures, depending of the level of expectation behind a given reform or program.

A sample of successes and partial successes might include: -

1) Latin American high art (literature, films, classical composition, and Latinjazz music) and popular culture (popular music, television) remain extremely vigorous and have become a major export that also heightens the prestige of the region (for examples, see lectures 3 & 4). As we have seen, names like Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez, Jorge Luis Borges, Isabel Allende, Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda have become major literary figures recognised globally (for samples, see Caracciolo-Trejo 1971; Skidmore & Smith 2001, p421). Although this flow of cultural influence does not match North American influence, it has begun to have a clear global dimension. At the very least, in spite of the strong market for American pop culture, this has meant that a strict nordomanía (love of everything North American) is no longer favoured among educated Latin Americans (Larrain 1999, p189). Likewise, the large-scale diaspora of Latin Americans into the U.S. (and to a lesser extent Europe), has begun to shape a strong 'Latino' element in North-American politics and cultural tastes, e.g. large Mexican, Cuban and Haitian ethnic minorities. Even Jamaica and the Dominican Republic sent around half a million migrants into the U.S. over recent decades (see Klaks 1999, p120). Such groups form transnational linkages that have serious implications ranging from remittance returned to home countries, impact on exile groups on political relations (e.g. Cuban exile communities), and changing patterns of popular culture.

2) Latin America 'has also made a great contribution in the field of race relations' with a 'relative social harmony' that, for all its problems, is still an achievement (Skidmore & Smith 2001, p422). Here the mestizos of Mexico, Central America and the Andean region, and the mulattoes of Cuba, Brazil and the Caribbean have demonstrated considerable social mobility (Skidmore & Smith 2001, p422), in spite of ongoing forms of economic and educational disparity. The mestizos in particular remain an important component of modern Mexican identity (see lecture 3) and form one focus of social reform (see Larrain 1999, p189). However, limited, masked forms of racism do continue, more in the 'exaggerated valuation' of whiteness, 'whitening' policies that seek to discount indigenous or African descendent, and in remaining negative visions of 'Indians and blacks' (Larrain 1999, p198). Even in Brazil, the myth of a ‘racial democracy’ masques subtle forms of discriminations that have only slowly been addressed through ‘affirmative action’ programs.

3) In general terms, countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and to some degree Chile and Colombia have become successful industrial producers of automobiles, machinery, consumer goods and electrical components (see lectures 3, 6, 8, 11), as well as a limited place in aircraft and armaments

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