From Bolívar to UNASUR - 200 Years of Latin American Political Integration
(1-2 July 2019, BGHS, University Bielefeld)
Organisation: Lasse Bjoern Lassen, Gladys Vásquez Zevallos, Dr. Santiago Pérez Benitez (Centro de Investigaciones de Política Internacional, Havana)
Institutions: Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS), Center for InterAmerican Studies (CIAS), University of Bielefeld
How can Latin American nations collaborate to overcome their economic, social and political problems? Is it possible to develop a common Latin American policy towards the United States/Europe/the West? This workshop offers a format in which the origins, development and future perspective of Latin American political union can be discussed in order to try to answer these questions. The seminar will look at a selection of theoretical texts and historical sources concerned with the vision of a "united Latin America". We intend to carve out historical, social and cultural specifities that fostered or hindered cooperation between the postcolonial entities and modern nation states of Latin America such as caudillismo, conflicts between federalism and centralism as well as the dominant role of the United States. The workshop consists of four panels, addressing different time periods, processes and challenges for the project of political integration: From the first attempts at political union by Simón Bolívar after the Hispanic-American independence to 19th century intellectual resistance towards United States political and economic hegemony. From Cold War politics and the hemispheric aspirations of the Cuban Revolution to the most recent forms of political cooperation such as Mercosur, UNASUR and the ALBA movement. In a final step we wish to elaborate how these multilateral formats have recently faced increasing pressure by the rise of the political right in Latin America and to what extent the Latin American case is comparable to the current crisis of the European Union.