Britain and Latin America: a changing relationship
A Changing Relationship
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 1989
Online Publication Date:December 2009
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511598692.013
The 1990s will be an opportunity for several European countries to re-examine their relations with Latin America. The quincentenary of Columbus' voyage, to be celebrated in 1992, will remind the British in particular of past associations and former glories; the golden age of this relationship (see chapter 1, by Leslie Bethell) ended many years ago, leaving a legacy which is visible in family names (for example, that of President Alfonsín Foulkes), company titles (for example, the Banco Anglo-Colombiano) and imposing architecture. Yet this legacy is of questionable value for rebuilding British–Latin American relations in view of the long decline in British influence over the last sixty years. If Britain is to establish closer relations with Latin America in the future, there will need to be a rediscovery of the continent rather than merely raking over the coals of the fire lit last century.
Although past associations have left a feeling of goodwill towards Britain in many Latin American republics, it is not an easily negotiable asset. Relations between states have always responded to more hard-nosed criteria and British–Latin American relations are no exception. It is contemporary and future trends within Britain and the republics, together with the broader international situation, which will determine future relations. In the 1990s, six themes are likely to be of primordial importance: