Development and Democracy in the Southern Cone
July 1, 2002
Mercosur is an important experiment that could change the pattern of economic and political cooperation in the Southern Cone of South America if it succeeds in its main objective of increasing trade and diminishing gional conflict. If it fails, Mercosur will be seen as another example in a long history of Latin American integration efforts that could not overcome the fault lines of nationalistic tensions. The principal U.S. policy objectives in Latin America are to encourage market economics and representative democracy, and Mercosur is important to accomplishing these outcomes. Evidence shows that these U.S. policy goals are being achieved. Most solid democracies in Latin America are in the Southern Cone, and the market orientations of the main economies are holding firm despite recent economic troubles.
Sidney Weintraub holds the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at CSIS and is professor emeritus at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.