Hierarchy of power in Latin America

Even though it is relevant, the structural positioning of the Latin American States as a whole has been barely studied in the International Relation Academies. This is due to the interest of characterizing and understanding only the positioning of some specific States, especially the most developed ones (for example, Brazil or Mexico) on one hand; and to the secondary importance of the vast majority of the Latin-American States into the international system (regarding certain European and Asiatic powers), on the other one.

Nevertheless, at the end of the 1960’s, a remarkable work in this matter was published on the book “Relaciones internacionales, integración y desarrollo”(International relations, integration and development), by Johan Galtung, Manuel Moral y Simon Schwartzman. Meaningfully, they all contributed to study the Latin American States as a whole from

“structural variables who define the position of the countries in a system of stratification and interaction, measured by some simple indicators” (Galtung, Mora y Schwartzman 1969, 187).

In spite of both information technology and statistical limitations from their time, on their text “El sistema latinoamericano de naciones: Un análisis estructural” (The Latin American Nations System: A structural analysis), the authors came to manage the data processing in order to identify the structural positioning of 20 countries.

From the fulfillment of this study by Galtung, Mora and Schwartzman, Latin American and Caribbean reality had begun to change gradually and moderately without entailing any significant structural change. Four decades after its publication, what is it yet to be evaluated from the long desired structural ascent of the States? The assumption in Las promesas del ascenso estructural de los países de América Latina is that the promises of the structural ascent for the region would have been relatively accomplished: there are not meaningful changes in regards of social-economic development (even so the widespread growth), but instead, there are political changes regarding the structural position of some States from the region.

Such hypothesis mainly attempts to research the structural position reached by the States –ascent, stalemate and descent into the power rank of the States in the regional inter-State system- and, secondarily, to explore the social-economic development level reached by them.

Thus, the chief aims of the paper Las promesas del ascenso estructural de los países de América Latina  are to make a brief theoretical-methodological proposal for the measurement of the inter-State/international power, to determine the shape of the inter-State structure in Latin American and the Caribbean for the next years and finally, to identify and assess the main achievements (ascents), disenchantment (stalemates) and frustrations (setbacks) into the structural movement of the countries in the territory.