Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Britain and Latin America: 'Hope in a Time of Change?'

By Louise Fawcett and Eduardo Posada-Carbó


In the first\ud section we propose briefly to look at the history of British-Latin American\ud relations since the 1930s to emphasise what is perhaps common knowledge:\ud the steady decline in the relationship, which reached its lowest point during\ud the war in the South Atlantic in 1982. Although this story has already been\ud told elsewhere, we summarise it here both to provide a backdrop and to\ud illustrate the contrasts with the later period. We will then turn to an\ud examination of the recent signs of revival. Using parliamentary records,\ud some official unpublished documents, newspaper publications, and other\ud secondary material, we will look at the evidence that points to a relative renewal of Anglo-Latin American relationship in the past decade. The last\ud section of the paper will consider the limitations of this revival before\ud speculating about the prospects for the long-term strengthening of British ties\ud with Latin America

Topics: HIS, POL
Publisher: Institute for the Study of the Americas
Year: 1996
OAI identifier:
Provided by: SAS-SPACE

Suggested articles


  1. (1995). 1016. On Guatemala, see ibid.
  2. (1995). 107 '$36m Colombia project for RTZ',
  3. (1992). 112 On this theme see further Alberto van Klaveren, 'Latin America and the International Political System of the 1990s',
  4. (1992). 119 For a summary of such assistance since 1975 see Guadalupe RuizGimenez, 'La agenda de los noventa para America Latina: la contribution de la CE',
  5. (1993). 130 Partly at Spanish instigation, the EC extended in 1990 its superior tranche of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) to four countries of the Andean Pact. See Christopher Stevens et al., 'EC Trade Preferences and a Postapartheid South Africa',
  6. (1985). 135 Consumption of bananas in the United Kingdom almost doubled between
  7. (1995). 150 'We fought hard to safeguard (the Windward Islands banana industry's) interests in the EC banana regime', acknowledged in Parliament the Foreign Office; Parliamentary Debates.
  8. (1996). 152 In the course of revising this paper, it was announced that the USA had dropped its investigation into Colombia and Costa Rica. See 'Kantor drops US banana inquiry',
  9. (1995). 153 'Yes, the EU's gone bananas',
  10. (1987). 24 On this theme see Robert Gilpin, The Political Economy of International Relations
  11. (1995). 281-2; and Department of Trade and Industry, 'Link into Latin America. Your Next Big Market',
  12. (1986). 33 On the special relationship in this period see Bradford Perkins, 'Unequal Partners: The Truman Administration and Great Britain',
  13. (1983). 34 The embarrassment of the government was clearly exposed when Geoffrey Howe, having told MPs on 24
  14. (1988). 41 Parliamentary Debates.
  15. (1995). 44 Parliamentary Debates. Hansard (264),
  16. (1996). 46 For an example of recent concerns, see 'Latin America's Frontier Alarms', The Economist,
  17. (1994). 466, 468-9. Government answers to questions in Parliament, usually by the opposition, provide evidence of current policies towards human rights. For recent statements regarding Brazil see, for example: Parliamentary Debates.
  18. (1989). 58 Parliamentary Debates,
  19. (1994). 60 Parliamentary Debates. Hansard (162),
  20. (1995). 61 'Britons head for Cuba as Marx gives way to the market', The Times,
  21. (1993). 63 'Visits by Latin American Presidents to UK', FCO,
  22. (1995). 74 Parliamentary Debates. Hansard (264),
  23. (1993). 75 'Argentina whets foreign appetites', The Financial Times,
  24. (1993). 76 'UK interest in trans-Andean pipeline',
  25. (1991). 78 'Caracas visit launches Proyecto Venezuela',
  26. (1993). 79 See the 'Export League Table',
  27. (1994). 80 His predecessor had made a similar remark the previous year. See Parliamentary Debates. Hansard (162), London,
  28. (1990). 834. See also similar comments by Jacques Arnold in Parliamentary Debates.
  29. (1995). 86 The Minister was replying to the opposition's concerns about the training of police forces in Guatemala, in view of this country's record of human right abuses. See Parliamentary Debates. Hansard (264),
  30. (1993). 93 'Britain's aid strategy in the changing world', Speech to the Royal Institute of International Affairs,
  31. (1995). 97 The Financial Times, doi
  32. (1995). 98 Parliamentary Debates.
  33. (1995). 99 Parliamentary Debates.
  34. (1995). according to official sources, the United Kingdom was the second biggest donor to such programmes in the United Nations. See Parliamentary Debates.
  35. (1989). achievement', as forecast in Parliament by Tim Sainsbury on 27
  36. (1994). America in 1970 accounted for a mere £2. lm of a total £275m, the Commonwealth still being the primary recipient of overseas aid.91
  37. (1988). and 1898 debates started well after midnight, those between
  38. (1994). Argentina in the Crisis Years (1983-1990): from Alfonsfn to Menem
  39. (1992). Armanet suggests that the Pacific could be an alternative to a 'fortress Europe', see ibid., p. 59. See also C. Moreno Laval, 'America Latina y la cuenca del Pacifico', Estudios Internationales,
  40. (1984). As late as 1988, in welcoming a 'long overdue' debate on Latin America
  41. (1993). bananas', The Financial Times,
  42. (1992). British policy towards Latin America',
  43. (1988). British relations with Latin America into the 1990s', pp. 205-27; see also Parliamentary Debates. Hansard (138), London,
  44. (1991). British Security Policy. The Thatcher Years and the End of the Cold War (London,
  45. Bulmer-Thomas, 'British relations with Latin America into the 1990s', in ibid,
  46. (1995). Commission, Bulletin of the European Union, doi
  47. (1995). Debates.
  48. (1991). Debates. Hansard (117), London,
  49. (1989). Debates. Hansard (157),
  50. (1991). Debates. Hansard (177), London,
  51. (1995). Debates. Hansard (264), London,
  52. (1992). Debates. House of Lords Weekly Hansard (1547),
  53. (1972). Debates. Lords (327), London,
  54. (1996). Economic Prospects,
  55. (1988). eight such debates have taken place, the last one in
  56. (1991). Empresarios y aventureros britanicos y la elite local en Colombia durante el siglo XIX', paper delivered at the 47th Congress of Americanists,
  57. (1992). European Integration: Implications for Latin America', doi
  58. (1992). Financial Times,
  59. (1988). for example, comments by Jacques Arnold and Ray Whitney during the 1988 House of Commons debate, in Parliamentary Debates.
  60. (1992). for example, Parliamentary Debates. Hansard (209), London,
  61. (1988). For similar remarks, see idem (138), 28
  62. (1992). forexample: 'Assured EC access urged for banana producers', The Financial Times,
  63. (1990). Fyffes and the Banana. A Centenary History,
  64. (1994). Garel-Jones, 'BBC dispels "chinless" image of Diplomatic Service',
  65. (1993). Globe-trotting Major keeps the lion roaring',
  66. (1973). Great Britain and Latin American Economic Development',
  67. (1984). La influencia inglesa y otras influencias en Colombia',
  68. (1995). Latin America the Morning After', Foreign Affairs,
  69. (1990). Latin America: an essential part of the new world order',
  70. (1991). Latin America: the Quiet Revolution',
  71. (1991). Letter from the Director General to Corporate Members of Canning House',
  72. (1992). limits', besides 4an offer relating to credits'.105 This limited interest has only been reversed in the last decade, best symbolised by Major's visit to Bogota in
  73. (1994). Morris, adios a Colombia', El Tiempo,
  74. (1972). No 2: Industrial Investment in an 'Export' Economy: the Brazilian Experience before 1914 by Flavio Rabelo Versiani
  75. (1995). official trip to Britain by an Argentine Minister since the war.96 And on 23
  76. (1994). Parliamentary Debates.
  77. (1995). President of the Inter-American Development Bank',
  78. (1990). rainforests and UK aid policy',
  79. (1992). see also 'Latins ride high',
  80. (1996). See also The Times, Supplement on Argentina,
  81. (1990). the 'signs of a rediscovery' in British-Latin American relations should not be sought only in trade and investment figures, as a number of commentators have noted.81 There are many other criteria, some of which 77 LATAG Bulletin, London (Autumn
  82. (1995). the 'strength and dynamism of an economically unified Europe could be felt in Latin America, despite the rather marginal weight of the region in Europe's external economic relations'.115 One positive development was the adoption by the European Union,
  83. (1995). The accord was referred to as 'constructively ambiguous' by The Financial Times. Oil was also considered 'the most difficult issue for the two governments', as it raised the question of the Falkland Islands' sovereignty. The Financial Times,
  84. (1973). The Chile Solidarity Campaign and British Government Policy towards Chile,
  85. (1994). The Commercial Opportunities', paper presented to the Latin American Parliamentary Group at Canning House,
  86. (1993). The Falklands War. Background, Conflict, Aftermath. An Annotated Bibliography (London, doi
  87. (1993). The Financial Times, doi
  88. (1988). The institutionalisation of an annual Latin American debate in the House of Commons is an innovation worthy of note.
  89. (1993). The Single European Market, which came into effect on 1
  90. (1994). This contrasts with Lord Greenhill of Harrow's recollections of his experience in the Foreign Office: 'it was always difficult to interest ministers in South America'; Parliamentary Debates,
  91. (1996). This did not mean that Colombia rejected Argentina's claim of sovereignty over the islands. Interview with Carlos Lemos Simmonds, Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time of the conflict and Ambassador in London at the time of writing
  92. Trade, aid and investment since 1950',
  93. (1991). Transcript of a speech given by the Foreign Secretary'; and Parliamentary Debates,
  94. (1992). Wide Horizons, Slender Means: the Scope for British Influence', doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.