Regional Integration in Latin America: Prospects and Constraints
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One of the main problems with integration in Latin America is that achievements don't live up to expectations. It was hoped that political integration would end conflicts between the nations, ensure democracy and human rights, etc. But the reality is that each nation wants these benefits, but has been unwilling to sacrifice the autonomy to make them possible. Although the nations want the ideal of peace, none wants to lose the option of conflict if they deem it necessary. Human rights is a good goal, but no nation wants other nations to tell them how to treat their citizens. In the economic realm, it was hoped that integration would increase trade, which would increase industrialization and autonomy (albeit collective autonomy). But conflicts within the structures of integration movements (such as a mixture of planned and market economies, or unequal distribution of benefits) as well as external shocks (such as the oil crisis) make these goals hard to achieve. Even though trade increased, it never increased enough.