Essay on U.S. Influence on Latin Culture

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Since the beginning of the United States' intervention within the affairs of Latin American politics in the beginning of the twentieth century, and since the advent of a U.S. effort towards the "modernization" of Latin America, influences aimed at empowering communities and bringing about democratic movements among Latin American countries have been accompanied by various forms of exploitation and cultural decimation (Leonard, 1999). Efforts at modernization of Latin America have been carried out partly in opposition to the influence IberoCatholic culture (of Spain) which is reported to "deprive the Latin Americans of the essential tools for progress: a future vision, a work ethic, the importance of education, a reward for merit, a sense of community, diffused authority, respect for law and tolerance of secularism" (Leonard, 1999). Between countries of Latin America, there is variation in the extent to which progress towards decentralization of elitist power and "modernization" in general has been made. The diplomatic efforts of the United States have had a hand in this, but progress is substantially limited by the simultaneous U.S. exploitation of economies as well as natural and labor resources [United Fruit Company is a symbol and example of this (Leonard, 1999)]. Such phenomena make the reasons for U.S. interest in modernization of Latin America questionable.

It seems as though some of the influence of the United States upon the culture of Latin America takes place by way of the media. "...Latin American media, although not largely owned by foreign interests, were heavily influenced by the presence of foreign materials, foreign advertisements, and foreign cultural models..." It is claimed however, that although the U.S. is...

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... of Third World Studies. Americus, Fall 1999. Association of Third World Studies, Inc. (Courtesy of ProQuest Direct:

Reiss, Raul. What Prevents Cable TV from Taking Off in Brazil? Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. Washington, Summer 1999. (Courtesy of ProQuest Direct:

Wade, Peter. Making Cultural Identities in Cali, Colombia. Current Anthropology
Chicago, Aug-Oct 1999. (Courtesy of ProQuest Direct:

Stevenson, Robert L. Global Communication in the Twenty-First Century. Longman Publishing Group, 1994.

Atwood, Rita & McAnany, Emile. Communication and Latin American Society. University of Wisconsin Press, 1986.

Castillo, Debra A. Border Lives: Prostitute Women in Tijuana. Signs Journal. Chicago, Winter 1999. (Courtesy of ProQuest Direct:

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