The forgotten Continent

South America has always been somehow off the beaten track. The big questions of world politics were rarely answered in the countries of Latin America, and even today it is still unclear to what extent this might change.

The ancient civilisations of pre-Columbian America, with their Mayan, Aztec or Inca empires still known today, were not involved in the conflicts of the old world, and when this old world finally met them, they put an end to much of their civilisation. So for centuries, America was merely a playground for the great empires that sought to expand their power here. And these were only the European ones.

Later, this changed insofar as with the United States of America, an American power finally entered the game and from the 19th century, in the wake of the Monroe Doctrine, rose to become the dominant power in the Latin American region. The construction of the Panama Canal was a culmination of this power development and further strengthened the country. The “backyard of the USA” was the undisputed sphere of influence of the increasingly powerful nation, and any threat to this position was met with severity.

The Soviet Union also had to experience this in the course of the Cold War, especially when it tried in the 1960s to secretly station nuclear weapons on Cuba, i.e. right on its doorstep. The conflict was eventually settled, and there has probably never been another moment when the eyes of the world have been on Latin America to such an extent.

After the end of the Cold War, South America initially lost geostrategic importance again. What is the situation today?

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