|Latin America during World War II|
|Events||The St. Louis Affair |
– June 1939
Battle of the River Plate
– December 13, 1939
Operation Bolivar begins
– May 1940
The Lüning Affair
– August 1942
The sinking of U-176
– May 15, 1943
Revolution of '43
– June 4, 1943
The Strike of Fallen Arms
– May 5–11, 1944
The Panama Canal strike
– June 1945
The history of Latin America during World War II is important because of the significant economic, political, and military changes that occurred throughout much of the region as a result of the war. The war caused a lot of panic in Latin America over economics, because they depended on the European investment capital which was shut down. Latin America tried to stay neutral but the warring countries were endangering their neutrality. Most countries used propaganda to turn the neutral countries to their side, while Berlin wanted Latin America neutral.In order to better protect the Panama Canal, combat Axis influence, and optimize the production of goods for the war effort, the United States through Lend-Lease and similar programs greatly expanded its interests in Latin America, resulting in large-scale modernization and a major economic boost for the countries that participated.
The term "Latin America" primarily refers to the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries in the New World.
The Panama Canal is an artificial 82 km (51 mi) waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a conduit for maritime trade. Canal locks are at each end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal, 26 m above sea level, and then lower the ships at the other end. The original locks are 34 m wide. A third, wider lane of locks was constructed between September 2007 and May 2016. The expanded canal began commercial operation on June 26, 2016. The new locks allow transit of larger, post-Panamax ships, capable of handling more cargo.
The Axis powers, also known as "Rome–Berlin–Tokyo Axis", were the nations that fought in World War II against the Allies. The Axis powers agreed on their opposition to the Allies, but did not completely coordinate their activity.
Strategically, Panama was the most important Latin American nation for the Allies because of the Panama Canal, which provided a link between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans that was vital to both commerce and defense. Brazil was also of great importance because of its having the closest point in the Americas to Africa where the Allies were actively engaged in fighting the Germans and Italians. For the Axis, the Southern Cone nations of Argentina and Chile were where they found most of their support, and they utilized it to the fullest by interfering with internal affairs, conducting espionage, and distributing propaganda.
The Allies of World War II, called the United Nations from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.
The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world's oceans, with an area of about 106,460,000 square kilometers. It covers approximately 20 percent of the Earth's surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area. It separates the "Old World" from the "New World".
The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south and is bounded by Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.
Brazil was the only country to send troops to the European Theater; however, several countries had skirmishes with German U-Boats and cruisers in the Caribbean and South Atlantic. Mexico sent a fighter squadron of 300 volunteers to the Pacific, the Escuadrón 201 were known as the Aztec Eagles (Águilas Aztecas).
The participation of Italy in the Second World War was characterized by a complex framework of ideology, politics, and diplomacy, while its military actions were often heavily influenced by external factors. Italy joined the war as one of the Axis Powers in 1940, as the French surrendered, with a plan to concentrate Italian forces on a major offensive against the British Empire in Africa and the Middle East, while expecting the collapse of the UK in the European theatre. The Italians bombed Mandatory Palestine, invaded Egypt and occupied British Somaliland with initial success. However, German and Japanese actions in 1941 led to the entry of the US and the USSR in the War, thus ruining the Italian plan and postponing indefinitely the objective of forcing Britain to agree to a negotiated peace settlement.
The Battle of the Caribbean refers to a naval campaign waged during World War II that was part of the Battle of the Atlantic, from 1941 to 1945. German U-boats and Italian submarines attempted to disrupt the Allied supply of oil and other material. They sank shipping in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico and attacked coastal targets in the Antilles. Improved Allied anti-submarine warfare eventually drove the Axis submarines out of the Caribbean region.
The 201st Fighter Squadron was a Mexican fighter squadron, part of the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force that aided the Allied war effort during World War II. The squadron was known by the nickname Águilas Aztecas or "Aztec Eagles", apparently coined by members of the squadron during training.
The Brazilian active participation on the battlefield in Europe was divined after the Casablanca Conference. The President of the U.S., Franklin D. Roosevelt on his way back from Morocco met the President of Brazil, Getulio Vargas, in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, this meeting is known as the Potenji River Conference, and defined the creation of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force.
The Casablanca Conference was held at the Anfa Hotel in Casablanca, French Morocco, from January 14 to 24, 1943, to plan the Allied European strategy for the next phase of World War II. In attendance were United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British prime minister Winston Churchill. Also attending and representing the Free French forces were Generals Charles de Gaulle and Henri Giraud, though they played minor roles and were not part of the military planning. Premier Joseph Stalin had declined to attend, citing the ongoing Battle of Stalingrad as requiring his presence in the Soviet Union.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to by initials FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the Democratic Party, he won a record four presidential elections and became a central figure in world events during the first half of the 20th century. Roosevelt directed the federal government during most of the Great Depression, implementing his New Deal domestic agenda in response to the worst economic crisis in U.S. history. As a dominant leader of his party, he built the New Deal Coalition, which realigned American politics into the Fifth Party System and defined American liberalism throughout the middle third of the 20th century. His third and fourth terms were dominated by World War II, which ended shortly after he died in office. He has been subject to substantial criticism. He is rated by scholars as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents, along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
Getúlio Dornelles Vargas was a Brazilian lawyer and politician, who served as President during two periods: the first was from 1930 to 1945, when he served as interim president from 1930 to 1934, constitutional president from 1934 to 1937, and dictator from 1937 to 1945. After being overthrown in a 1945 coup, Vargas returned to power as the democratically elected president in 1951, serving until his suicide in 1954. Vargas led Brazil for 18 years, the longest of any President, and second in Brazilian history only to Emperor Pedro II among heads of state. He favored nationalism, industrialization, centralization, social welfare and populism – for the latter, Vargas won the nickname "The Father of the Poor". Vargas is one of a number of populists who arose during the 1930s in Latin America, including Lazaro Cardenas and Juan Perón, who promoted nationalism and pursued social reform. He was a proponent of workers' rights as well as a staunch anti-communist.
In 1940, after he expressed his concern to President Franklin D. Roosevelt over Nazi influence in Latin America, Nelson Rockefeller of the famous family was appointed to the new position of Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA) in the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (OCIAA).Rockefeller was charged with overseeing a program of U.S. cooperation with the nations of Latin America to help raise the standard of living, to achieve better relations among the nations of the western hemisphere, and to counter rising Nazi influence in the region. He facilitated this form of cultural diplomacy by collaborating with the Director of Latin American Relations at the CBS radio network Edmund A. Chester.
Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller was an American businessman and politician who served as the 41st vice president of the United States from 1974 to 1977, and previously as the 49th governor of New York from 1959 to 1973. He also served as assistant secretary of State for American Republic Affairs for Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman (1944–1945) as well as under secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1954. A member of the wealthy Rockefeller family, he was a noted art collector and served as administrator of Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, New York.
The Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, later known as the Office for Inter-American Affairs, was a United States agency promoting inter-American cooperation (Pan-Americanism) during the 1940s, especially in commercial and economic areas. It was started in August 1940 as OCCCRBAR with Nelson Rockefeller as its head, appointed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Cultural diplomacy is a type of public diplomacy and soft power that includes the "exchange of ideas, information, art, language and other aspects of culture among nations and their peoples in order to foster mutual understanding". The purpose of cultural diplomacy is for the people of a foreign nation to develop an understanding of the nation's ideals and institutions in an effort to build broad support for economic and political goals. In essence "cultural diplomacy reveals the soul of a nation", which in turn creates influence. Though often overlooked, cultural diplomacy can and does play an important role in achieving national security efforts.
Anti-fascist propaganda was a major U.S. project across Latin America, and was run by Rockefeller's office. It spent millions on radio broadcasts and motion pictures, hoping to reach a large audience. Madison Avenue techniques generated a push back in Mexico, especially, where well-informed locals resisted heavy-handed American influence.Nevertheless, Mexico was a valuable ally in the war. A deal was reached whereby 250,000 Mexican citizens living in the United States served in the American forces; over 1000 were killed in combat. In addition to propaganda, large sums were allocated for economic support and development. On the whole the Roosevelt policy was a political success, except in Argentina, which tolerated German influence, and refused to follow Washington's lead until the war was practically over.
According to author Thomas M. Leonard, World War II had a major impact on Latin American economies. Many countries were raising prices on their exports so that they could support themselves economically.Following the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, most of Latin America either severed relations with the Axis powers or declared war on them. As a result, many nations (including all of Central America, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Argentina, and Venezuela) suddenly found that they were now dependent on the United States for trade. The United States' high demand for particular products and commodities during the war further distorted trade. For example, the United States wanted all of the platinum produced in Colombia, all of Chile's copper, and all of Peru's cotton. The parties agreed upon set prices, often with a high premium, but the various nations lost their ability to bargain and trade in the open market.
Shortages of consumer goods and other products were also a problem during the war years. The demands of the American war industry and a scarcity of shipping caused many goods to be unavailable in Latin America, and so the prices for what was available increased. Gasoline and other oil products were expensive and difficult to obtain. Food shortages were a problem in the cities. Ultimately, all of these factors resulted in inflation.
Most of Latin America used the war to their advantage by siding with the United States and receiving aid. Peru, however, was an exception. In Peru, the government placed price controls on various products; hence, its foreign reserves did not increase as much as some of the other Latin American states and it lost badly-needed capital. Argentina, despite its pro-German leanings and its hostility towards the United States, did very well as trade increased rapidly. Panama also benefited economically, mainly because of increased ship traffic and goods passing through the canal.
In Puerto Rico, the alcohol industry boomed because access to European markets ceased. Petroleum-rich Mexico and Venezuela benefitted from the elevated price of oil. Mexico used this commodity to force a deal on its terms with American and European oil companies for the nationalization of its oil industry in 1938. Furthermore, during the war President Manuel Ávila Camacho capitalized on the situation to improve Mexico's bargaining position with the United States.
On March 22, 1942, the United States government enacted Lend-Lease, which was a program which gave war materials and other assistance from the United States in exchange for military bases and participation in the defense of the Western Hemisphere. The United Kingdom and other European nations, including their colonies, logically received the majority of the aid, because the chaos of war was much closer to them. Latin America, however, received approximately $400 million in war materials, which was a small fraction compared of what was distributed to the European nations.
Out of all of the Latin American nations, Brazil benefited the most from Lend-Lease during the war, mainly because of its geographical position at the northeastern corner of South America, which allowed for patrolling between South America and West Africa, as well as providing a ferry point for the transfer of American-made war materials to the Allies fighting in North Africa, but also because it was seen as a possible German invasion route that had to be defended. New and favorable trade treaties were signed with the United States, which offered loans and military aid, but of more importance was the drop in competition in Brazil's manufacturing industry. Brazil received three-quarters of the Lend-Lease assistance distributed in Latin America. Ecuador received some, mainly for the building of an airbase in the Galapagos, and both Colombia and the Dominican Republic used Lend-Lease to modernize their militaries in exchange for their participation in the defense of the Panama Canal and the Caribbean sea lanes.
In contrast, Argentina and Chile received very little military aid, because for most of the war neither would heed American demands that they sever all relations with the Axis powers. Peru received some aid, but by 1943 the western coast of South America had lost all strategic significance, because it was so far away from the main theaters of war, and thus Peru lost its immediate justification for Lend-Lease weaponry. The Central American nations suffered a similar fate as Peru. By 1943, the Pan-American Highway, which the United States was building for defense purposes, ceased to be a priority, and so work on the road, as well as military aid, was halted.
According to Leonard, Lend-Lease changed the balance of power in Latin America and "rekindled old rivalries." The Chilean government, for example, was very concerned about its lack of military assistance, not out of fear of an attack by Axis forces, but because it was concerned that Bolivia and Peru might attempt to use their newly acquired weapons to take back territory lost to Chile sixty years before during the War of the Pacific. Ecuador also was unhappy because, at the end of the 1941 Ecuadorian-Peruvian War, it had lost to Peru. Finally, Argentina was threatened by its old rival, Brazil, because of the latter's access to modern American weaponry. Leonard says that the Argentine dictator Juan Perón came to power partially by claiming that he would "redress this change in military status."
At the beginning of World War II, fascism was seen as a positive alternative by some Latin American leaders and groups that were impressed by Germany's Adolf Hitler, Italy's Benito Mussolini, Japan's Emperor Hirohito, Spain's Francisco Franco (even though Spain remained neutral throughout the war) and the fascist dictators of the minor Axis Powers. President Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, for example, admired Hitler for his style and his militaristic rallies. Similar views were held by Jorge Ubico and Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, the dictators of Guatemala and El Salvador, respectively. According to Leonard, in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, the strong sense of unity and purpose created by fascism was quite attractive. All three nations had an influential fascist political party [ dubious ]. Brazil's Integralists dressed in jackboots and green military-style shirts, and were open admirers of Mussolini.
The politics of fascism were not all that was attractive, as in the pre-war years the Germans also enjoyed growing economic penetration using strict binational trade agreements to ensure that the economic relationship with various Latin American nations would be equal. Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic all had trade agreements with Nazi Germany. Brazil's trade with Germany, for example, doubled between 1933, when Hitler came to power, and 1938, the year before the war began. With the start of the war in September 1939, Axis ships could no longer cross the Atlantic for commerce, and so trade between Latin America and Germany and Italy ceased. Losing trading partners hurt some of the Latin American states, and in most cases the United States was the only country that was able to replace the Germans and Italians.
Almost all of the Latin American states had to respond to Axis espionage activity. Mexico, and to a lesser extent Brazil, cooperated with the United States in shutting down Axis cells. Chile and Argentina, on the other hand, allowed enemy agents to operate in their countries for most of the war, which was a source of considerable discord between the two nations and the United States. Many of the Latin American states also had to deal with large numbers of immigrants from Axis countries. Colombia, for example, had a population of about 4,000 German immigrants in 1941, as well as a small village of Japanese farmers in Cauca. Many of the Germans in Colombia were involved in the air transportation industry as employees of SCADTA, so the United States was concerned that they might be engaged in espionage or even plot to convert civilian aircraft into bombers for an attack against the Panama Canal. As a result, the United States government pressured Colombia into monitoring and interning the immigrants or, in some cases, deporting them to the United States. The same occurred in other Latin American countries as well.
The threat of German and Spanish espionage was much more real. Throughout much of the war, the Germans operated spy networks in all of the most prominent countries of the region, including Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, and others. Operation Bolivar, as it was called, was centered on clandestine radio communications from their base in Argentina to Berlin in Germany, but it also utilized Spanish merchant vessels for the shipment of paper-form intelligence back to Europe. The latter was possible because of Spanish cooperation with German intelligence agencies during the war. Although Argentina and Chile eventually "cracked down" on the Axis agents operating in their countries in early 1944, some Bolivar activity continued up until the end of the European war in May 1945.
In addition to German espionage and sabotage in Latin America, the United States was also concerned about Nazi propaganda. For example, Germany's embassy in Guatemala City served as the distribution center for Nazi propaganda in Central America. Prior to the beginning of the war in 1939, the propaganda focused on the superiority of German manufactured goods, and claimed that Germany was the center for scientific research, because it had the "world's most advanced educational system." Between September 1939 and late 1943, the propaganda focused on German victories and the superiority of its military equipment. From Guatemala the propaganda made its way to the German embassies in other countries, often as packages aboard the Salvadoran airline TACA.
Hitler's invasion of June 1941 provoked support and aid for the Soviet Union in many countries in Latin America, generally organized through voluntary organizations or trade unions. Cuba dispatched 40,000 cigars to the Red Army and in October 1942 became the first Latin American country to extend diplomatic recognition to the USSR. The war led to a diplomatic thaw more generally: by 1945, 11 Latin American states, including Colombia, Chile, Argentina and the Central American republics, had normalized relations with Moscow.
At the end of World War II in Europe, Mexican president Manuel Ávila Camacho declared: "Al enterarme del retroceso definitivo del Ejército alemán recuerdo junto con mi país los esfuerzos admirables del heroico pueblo soviético durante los años de la lucha contra las tropas fascistas." (Upon hearing of the final defeat of the German army, I, along with my country, remembered the admirable efforts of the heroic Soviet people during the years of struggle against fascist troops.)
While Jews were trying to escape exile in The Axis powers, Colonel José Castellanos Contreras, the Salvadoran Consul General in Geneva, Switzerland, saved 25,000 Jews by providing them with Salvadoran passports which could be used as a form of political asylum. This was however a very quiet and unrecognized part of El Salvador contribution in World War 2.
Latin America is a group of countries and dependencies in the Western Hemisphere where Romance languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, and French are predominantly spoken; it is broader than the terms Ibero-America or Hispanic America. The term "Latin America" was first used in an 1856 conference with the title "Initiative of the Americas. Idea for a Federal Congress of the Republics", by the Chilean politician Francisco Bilbao. The term was used also by Napoleon III's French government in the 1860s as Amérique latine to consider French-speaking territories in the Americas, along with the larger group of countries where Spanish and Portuguese languages prevailed, including the Spanish-speaking portions of the United States Today, areas of Canada and the United States where Spanish, Portuguese and French are predominant are typically not included in definitions of Latin America.
South America is a continent in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It may also be considered a subcontinent of the Americas, which is how it is viewed in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking regions of the Americas. The reference to South America instead of other regions has increased in the last decades due to changing geopolitical dynamics.
The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) was a proposed agreement to eliminate or reduce the trade barriers among all countries in the Americas, excluding Cuba.
The history of South America is the study of the past, particularly the written record, oral histories, and traditions, passed down from generation to generation on the continent of South America. South America has a history that has a wide range of human cultures and forms of civilization. The Norte Chico civilization in Peru is the oldest civilization in the Americas and one of the first six independent civilizations in the world; it was contemporaneous with the Egyptian pyramids. It predated the Mesoamerican Olmec by nearly two millennia.
The Rio Group (G-Rio) was a permanent association of political consultation of Latin America and Caribbean countries, created in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on December 18, 1986 with the purpose of creating a better political relationship among the countries. It was succeeded in 2011 by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States
The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, known as ECLAC, UNECLAC or in Spanish and Portuguese CEPAL, is a United Nations regional commission to encourage economic cooperation. ECLAC includes 46 member States, and 13 associate members which are various non-independent territories, associated island countries and a commonwealth in the Caribbean. ECLAC publishes statistics covering the countries of the region and makes cooperative agreements with nonprofit institutions. ECLAC's headquarters is in Santiago, Chile.
The Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance was an agreement signed in 1947 in Rio de Janeiro among many countries of the Americas. The central principle contained in its articles is that an attack against one is to be considered an attack against them all; this was known as the "hemispheric defense" doctrine. Despite this, several members have breached the treaty on multiple occasions. The treaty was initially created in 1947 and came into force in 1948, in accordance with Article 22 of the treaty. The Bahamas was the most recent country to sign and ratify it in 1982.
The Union of South American Nations is an intergovernmental regional organization that once comprised twelve South American countries; as of 2019, most have withdrawn.
Latin Americans are the citizens of the Latin American countries and dependencies. Latin American countries are multi-ethnic, home to people of different ethnic and national backgrounds. As a result, some Latin Americans do not take their nationality as an ethnicity, but identify themselves with both their nationality and their ancestral origins. Aside from the indigenous Amerindian population, all Latin Americans or their ancestors immigrated since 1492. Latin America has the largest diasporas of Spaniards, Portuguese, Black Africans, Italians, Lebanese and Japanese in the world. The region also has large German, French, and Jewish diasporas.
Asian Latin Americans are Latin Americans of South Asian, East Asian or Southeast Asian descent. West Asians are typically considered to be white. Asian Latin Americans have a centuries-long history in the region, starting with Filipinos in the 16th century. The peak of Asian immigration occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries, however. There are currently more than four million Asian Latin Americans, nearly 1% of Latin America's population. Chinese and Japanese are the group's largest ancestries; other major ones include Indians, Koreans and Filipinos. Brazil is home to the largest population of Asian Latin Americans, at some 2.2 million. The highest ratio of any country in the region is 5%, in Peru. There has been notable emigration from these communities in recent decades, so that there are now hundreds of thousands of people of Asian Latin American origin in both Japan and the United States.
The Congress of Panama was a congress organized by Simón Bolívar in 1826 with the goal of bringing together the new republics of Latin America to develop a unified policy towards Spain. Held in Panama City from 22 June to 15 July of that year, the meeting proposed creating a league of American republics, with a common military, a mutual defense pact, and a supranational parliamentary assembly.
The Treaty of Asunción was a treaty between the countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay signed on March 26, 1991. The objective of the treaty, signed in Asunción, was to establish a common market among the participating countries, popularly called Mercosur. Later, the Treaty of Ouro Preto was signed to supplement the first treaty, establishing that the Treaty of Asunción was to be a legally and internationally recognized organization.
Latin American literature consists of the oral and written literature of Latin America in several languages, particularly in Spanish, Portuguese, and the indigenous languages of the Americas as well as literature of the United States written in the Spanish language. It rose to particular prominence globally during the second half of the 20th century, largely due to the international success of the style known as magical realism. As such, the region's literature is often associated solely with this style, with the 20th Century literary movement known as Latin American Boom, and with its most famous exponent, Gabriel García Márquez. Latin American literature has a rich and complex tradition of literary production that dates back many centuries.
Latin American culture is the formal or informal expression of the people of Latin America and includes both high culture and popular culture as well as religion and other customary practices.
Latin American involvement in international peacekeeping dates back to the start of United Nations peacekeeping efforts with the Organization's founding in the 1940s but has seen a sharp acceleration in recent years.
Latin America–United States relations are relations between the United States of America and the countries of Latin America. Historically speaking, bilateral relations between the United States and the various countries of Latin America have been multifaceted and complex, at times defined by strong regional cooperation and at others filled with economic and political tension and rivalry. Although relations between the U.S. government and most of Latin America were limited prior to the late 1800s, for most of the past century, the United States has unofficially regarded parts of Latin America as within its sphere of influence, and for much of the Cold War (1947–1991), actively vied with the Soviet Union for influence in the Western Hemisphere.
The integration of Latin America has a history going back to Spanish American and Brazilian independence, when there was discussion of creating a regional state or confederation of Latin American nations to protect the area's newly won autonomy. After several projects failed, the issue was not taken up again until the late 19th century, but now centered on the issue of international trade and with a sense of pan-Americanism, owing to the United States of America taking a leading role in the project. The idea of granting these organizations a primarily political purpose did not become prominent again until the post-World War II period, which saw both the start of the Cold War and a climate of international cooperation that led to the creation of institutions such as the United Nations. It would not be until the mid-20th century that uniquely Latin American organizations were created.
The Pacific Alliance is a Latin American trade bloc, formed by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, which all border the Pacific Ocean. These countries have come together to form an area of integration with the purpose of ensuring complete freedom in the movement of goods, services, capital, and people. Together, these four countries have a combined population of 210 million people and about 35% of the region's GDP.
Operation Bolivar was the codename for the German espionage in Latin America during World War II. It was under the operational control of Department VID 4 of Germany's Security Service, and was primarily concerned with the collection and transmission of clandestine information from Latin America to Europe. Overall, the Germans were successful in establishing a secret radio communications network from their control station in Argentina, as well as a courier system involving the use of Spanish merchant vessels for the shipment of paper-form intelligence.
Latin America as a region has multiple nation-states, with varying levels of economic complexity. The Latin American economy is an export-based economy consisting of individual countries in the geographical regions of North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. The socioeconomic patterns of what is now called Latin America were set in the colonial era when the region was controlled by the Spanish and Portuguese empires. Up until independence in the early nineteenth century, colonial Latin American regional economies boomed. Many parts of the region had favorable factor endowments of deposits of precious metals, mainly silver, or tropical climatic conditions and locations near coasts that allowed for the development of cane sugar plantations. In the nineteenth century following independence, many economies of Latin America declined. In the late nineteenth century, much of Latin America was integrated into the world economy as an exporter of commodities. Foreign capital investment, construction of infrastructure, such as railroads, growth in the labor sector with immigration from abroad, strengthening of institutions, and expansion of education aided industrial growth and economic expansion. A number of regions have thriving economies, but "poverty and inequality have been deeply rooted in Latin American societies since the early colonial era."