How does the USA 
try to control the Americas?

Merci !

Classe(s) : Tle ES - Tle L - Tle S | Thème(s) : America : North power, South integration
Corpus Corpus 1
How does the USA
try to control the Americas?





The United States of America belongs to the American continent or “Americas”, but regarding history and economic development, it seems that America belongs to this country. What is the extent of the US influence in America today?

1 America(s) from north to south

A America or Americas?

 From the perspective of the English–speaking world, the Americas comprise two separate continents (North America and South America) whereas, in Latin America, America is seen as a single continent.

The United Nations divides the continent into four regions: Northern America (USA and Canada), Central America (Mexico and all the isthmus), Caribbean islands and South America.

B Two opposite worlds

 Northern America is mostly an English-speaking world whereas Latin America is mostly a Spanish/Portuguese-speaking world.

 The economic contrast is huge. In 2013, the GNP per capita in the USA is 5 times higher than in Latin America and Caribbean countries ($52,800 versus $9,600).

 Historical facts may explain these differences. British North American colonies had self-governing institutions and became independent without a major break of institutional continuity. In turn, the collapse of the Spanish colonial rule left Latin American countries without viable national institutions.

2 How the USA took advantage of NAFTA

 NAFTA (North American Free-Trade Agreement) is a trilateral free-trade deal signed in 1992 between the USA, Canada and Mexico. The central aim of the agreement is to eliminate most tariffs* on products traded among these countries. These tariffs were phased out* gradually from 1994 to January 1st, 2008.

 NAFTA allows US companies to benefit from the cheap Mexican labour force, by creating more competitive supply chains called maquilladoras. Thus NAFTA reinforced the domination of the USA on Mexico. The Mexican commercial balance deficit has been increasing since the beginning of the 1990s.

 Canada has seen strong economic gains thanks to NAFTA. US and Mexican investments in Canada have tripled and 4.7 million new jobs have been created in Canada since 1993. Canada is the leading exporter of goods to the USA. The raw materials imported from Canada are a vital contribution to US energy security: 99% of Canadian crude oil is traded to the USA.

3 US rivalry with southern countries

A A southern integration (>timelines and maps, p. IX-X)

 Mercosur is an economic agreement signed in 1991 by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay (which is currently suspended), Uruguay and later Venezuela.

 The CAN (Andean Community of Nations) came into existence in 1969 and has four members (>card33). In 2008, the CAN and Mercosur created Unasur, a third organization. The latter is no longer a trade agreement but a Latin American political association against the US supremacy. In 2009, 12 Unasur members met to put up* resistance against the US military presence in Colombia.

B A union spearheaded* by the USA

 In 2003, as an answer to the creation of Mercosur, the USA proposed to eliminate the trade barriers among all the countries of Americas in a new agreement, FTAA (Free-Trade Area of Americas).

Mercosur member states rejected the agreement in November 2005. Hence the USA decided to sign bilateral economic agreements with Latin American countries (Peru, Colombia, Panama…).

  • tariff = droit de douane
  • to phase out = supprimer progressivement
  • to put up = afficher
  • to spearhead = mener, conduire


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