Foreign Policy Blogs

UK Foreign Policy Constraints: The Case for Latin America

A recent report from COHA about the current relationship between the UK and Latin America was published last week in order to outline the lack of ties between a UK mired in European economic Telenovela and the great need to expand ties beyond traditional economic and cultural sources. UK links to former colonies and ties within Europe, the Middle East and Africa limit the UK to the European spheres of influence and ignore regions of growth like Latin America. While the UK often pursued stronger ties with natural allies and left Latin America to the Yanks, the loosening ties between the United States and Latin America have been met with increased investments from BRICS nations and BRIC candidate nations, thus displacing the United States in its backyard that currently has healthy growth rates and increasingly stable economies.

The author of the COHA report does an excellent job of outlining the main issues and current relationship between the UK and Latin America, tying in historical relationships with current political realities. A key point he addresses is the lingering pride that came out of the Falklands War that still draws attention in the UK, as well in Argentina, as an unresolved disagreement and an issue that will not be broached in any serious way for at least another generation. The need for a new UK strategy comes from the reliance on past relationships that are currently frozen in economic difficulties. The hope of a reinvigorated UK governmental and commercial strategy that will use the best of British innovation and creativity to expand economic interests beyond the slowing traditional environment is highly recommended in the report. Realities however place the UK in a position of reliance on its continental power brokers in Germany and France to lift the European markets back into a position of health and leaves Britain in the position between a nervous Europe and unconfident United States. The UK has all the potential, but with a lack of focus in government and motivation beyond its secure position between Europe and America, it will take more than intentions to create future agreements to create increased UK-Latin America trade. Britain may benefit from a change in its relationship with Europe and the US to have a serious break into new markets, non-post colonial markets and new products and innovation.

What was not addressed in the article when focusing on the international drugs trade and the increase in trafficking between Europe and Latin America, is the increase in sex trafficking from Latin America to Europe and the UK. A major issue and one that often gets little press is the movement and active recruitment of young girls towards Germany, Holland the UK and the rest of Europe as a whole. Many countries in Latin America, with a organised focus in Colombia and Brazil specifically, collect many girls from cities and towns and ship them off to Europe. Trapped by language, having their passports stolen, and even violence is common for many of these young women forced into the European sex trade. Brazilian author Paulo Coehlo, known mostly for his books about spirituality wrote a novel about one girl who was taken from Brazil to Switzerland, based on the life of a real woman now living in Switzerland. This issue is one of major concern and should be addressed in any discussion of UK-Latin American relations. I thank the author of the COHA article, it can be read in the link here.



Richard Basas
Richard Basas

Richard Basas, a Canadian Masters Level Law student educated in Spain, England, and Canada (U of London MA 2003 LL.M., 2007), has worked researching for CSIS and as a Reporter for the Latin America Advisor. He went on to study his MA in Latin American Political Economy in London with the University of London and LSE. Subsequently, Rich followed his career into Law focusing mostly on International Commerce and EU-Americas issues. He has worked for many commercial and legal organisations as well as within the Refugee Protection Community in Toronto, Canada, representing detained non-status indivduals residing in Canada. Rich will go on to study his PhD in International Law.

Areas of Focus:
Law; Economics and Commerce; Americas; Europe; Refugees; Immigration