• read the article paying attention to the words in bold
  • summarize the main ideas
  • comment on the ideas expressed by the author
  • compose 3 questions for discussion


proponent сторонник, защитник
resemble походить на, иметь сходство, быть похожим
consequent последовательный; следующий за; являющийся результатом
streamlined налаженный, четкий; рациональный
stallостанавливать, стопорить
permeateпроникать, распространяться, пропитывать
quellподавлять, уничтожать, ослаблять, смягчать, успокаивать
exacerbateобострять, усиливать
stasis застой


  1. regarded as
  2. at first glance
  3. owing to 
  4. engage in
  5. with respect to
  6. contribute to
  7. be intent on
  8. correspond to
  9. compatible with
  10. an increase in

Latin America’s Integration Muddle

Jun 9, 2010 Augusto Varas

Augusto Varas is President of the EQUITAS Foundation (Chile).

SANTIAGO – Regional integration is usually regarded as a way for countries to strengthen themselves. But today’s efforts at regional integration in Latin America seem to have a different purpose altogether. They are put forward to help the proponents of various plans jockey for power and influence on both the regional and global stage.

Indeed, none of the current initiatives to boost Latin American regional integration resemble at all the European integration process. Nor can they be considered the first tentative steps towards such a shared destiny, in the manner of the 1952 European Coal and Steel Community Treaty, which began the project for European unity. At first glance, the almost constant bombardment of integration proposals in Latin America makes it appear as if the region’s presidents are trying to outdo each other in seeing who can come up with the greatest number of proposals. All the while, scant attention is paid to the region’s already established bodies, which are in sad shape. Consider MERCOSUR, the main post-Cold War regional initiative. According to the Argentine scholar Roberto Bouzas, MERCOSUR is in a critical state of affairs, owing to the inability of its institutions to maintain “the common objectives which drove its member states to engage in the process of regional integration and the consequent loss of focus and capacity to prioritize underlying political problems. Similar diagnoses are made with respect to the Latin American Economic System (SELA), the Andean Community of Nations (CAN), and other regional organizations. Contributing to this loss of dynamism is the flood of proposals rushing out of Venezuela, including the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA, with its own standing army), the Trade Treaty of the Peoples (TCP), the Bank of the South, and the South Atlantic Treaty Organization (OTAS). Some of the Venezuelan initiatives are going nowhere, but others, such Petrocaribe, Petrosur, and TeleSUR, are taking off. Meanwhile, Brazil is intent on assuming a regional and global political role that corresponds to its growing economic weight. The challenge is to find a regional role that is compatible with the country’s size, but that does not create mistrust and, at the same time, benefits the rest of the region.

The proposed Union of South American Nations (Unasur), like the South American Defense Council, is part of a Brazilian regional strategy to encourage cooperation within Latin America in order to counterbalance the power of the United States and act as a mediator in regional disagreements. While the Unasur proposal may have been formulated in a more rigorous way than other initiatives, its failure to contemplate trade integration means that there is nothing to tie member states together beyond political will. Discussions about international free trade, however, have generally been held outside the region, in Doha or in the G-20, with Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico representing Latin America. Although Unasur aims to progress beyond free-trade agreements, this requires a more streamlined integration within the organization – one that expands its current role as a forum for discussing problems and seeking solutions for Latin America as a whole. Unasur, however, has highlighted the cooling of relations between Brazil and Mexico, which is not a member of the new organization. This may well have an impact on future regional political coordination, although Mexico’s future membership has not been ruled out. (Furthermore, Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s participation in the Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development in Bahia in December 2008 suggests that Mexico has not turned its back on the possibility of coordinating regional positions). The South American Defense Council, however, has stalled. To increase its effectiveness, the mistrust that permeates Unasur must be quelled, and the goals of member states must be more clearly defined. This is especially true of Brazil, the source of much of this mistrust. Finally, Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, some time ago proposed an Organization of Latin American States to replace the Organization of American States (OAS). Although the inclusion of all Latin American states goes some way towards repairing the weakened Brazilian-Mexican axis, and creates a new and more positive environment for future political coordination, this new organization is unlikely to contribute much to actual regional integration.The lack of regional common policies is particularly noticeable in the areas of regional defense and internal security, where it has been impossible to identify a common position on inter-state tensions, the fight against organized crime, and drug trafficking. These difficulties are exacerbated by the OAS’s inability to address complex situations such as the coup d’état in Honduras, the conflict between Ecuador and Colombia, or broader regional problems. This regional stasis may worsen as a result of growing nationalism; an increase in social divisions within states; weapons proliferation and an increase in military spending; and environmental degradation. It seems that Latin America has abandoned the principles, commitments, and foundations of full regional integration. Indeed, national interests and nationalistic egos have now moved to center stage.


  1. What are some of the current initiatives for regional integration in Latin America?
  2. How does the state of MERCOSUR reflect the challenges facing regional integration in the region?
  3. What steps can be taken to improve the effectiveness of regional integration efforts in Latin America?




proponent to be diffused through; pervade, saturate
resemble a first act or step in a process
initiativeto put down; extinguish; subdue; crush
consequent a person who argues in favour of something; an advocate
streamlined inactivity resulting from a static balance between opposing forces; a state of no action or progress
stalldesigned or organized for maximum efficiency
permeatemake worse, aggravate, exasperate or irritate
quellto be like or similar to
exacerbateto be delayed, impeded, or interrupted
stasis following as an effect; resulting


proponent following, resulting, accompanying, attendant
resemble pervade, infuse, penetrate 
initiativedefender, advocate
consequent delay, impede, obstruct, hamper, hinder, slow 
streamlined intensify, escalate, amplify, complicate
stallreduce, suppress, subdue 
permeatebe similar to, be comparable to
quellmodernized, up-to-date
exacerbateplan, proposal, scheme, strategy, suggestion
stasis a static situation; a stagnation


proponent the workforce, operations, processes
resemble damage/ casualties/ lack / instability
initiativeculture, nearly every aspect, social media, the political discourse
consequent other conditions, problems/ created, produced] to/ accurately, exactly
streamlined bureaucratic, emotional, business in, a period/ state of 
stalltalks, progress, proceedings, negotiations
permeateof globalization, of e-fuels, of the ecosystem
quellracial inequality, socioeconomic disparities, economic difficulties 
exacerbatelaunch / to improve/ governmental, private
stasis inflation, resistance, unrest, protests, confusion, criticism, skepticism 


1.While analysts said a new deal with Europe could in practice satisfy the requirements of the law, it would not really …………. a free-trade agreement. 
2. With Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, the government is scrapping the subsidy system which has kept British farming in …………. for years – and on which the livelihoods of many thousands depend.
3. Democrats, major Wall Street firms and other ESG …………. counter that the financial strategy is centered on measuring investment risk outside normal monetary factors.
4. Tensions over issues such as the treatment of Uyghurs still …………. the relationship: European lawmakers and activists protested a planned trip by the governor of Xinjiang to Europe, forcing China to call it off.
5. A number of emerging economies reacted to the global crisis and the …………. slowdown in exports by switching from export-led growth to domestically led growth.
6. In the meantime, contractors and developers have turned to more integrated “design-build” work processes to become more …………..
7. As part of the …………., the department will issue a hazard alert notifying employers and employees about ways to stay protected from extreme heat.
8. Bosnia is seeking EU entry but the Bosnian Serb separatist drive and inner political bickering have …………. the effort.
9. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a televised address to try to …………. the unrest.
10. The rollbacks, pushed primarily by Republican-dominated legislatures, come amid an influx of migrant workers to the United States that has been …………. by economic plight in their home countries.


1.  initiativesa) underlying political problems
2. positive environmentb) on inter-state tensions
3. to maintain c) complex situations
4. counterbalanced)  the common objectives
5. progress beyonde) to boost regional integration 
6. capacity to prioritizef) in regional disagreements
7.  to addressg) the power
8. assumeh) free-trade agreements
9. identify a common positioni) for future political coordination 
10. act as a mediatorj) a regional and global political role


E.g. _____________ proponents insist _____________

Despite the concerns, proponents insist it’s a medical avenue that must be explored.

  1. _________  became a proponent of _________ 
  2. _________  the proposed deal more closely resembled _________ 
  3. _________  initiatives to reach that target _________ 
  4. _________  consequent damage _________ 
  5. _________  streamlined several processes _________ 
  6. _________  is currently stalled _________ 
  7. _________ permeate practices and policies _________ 
  8. _________ to quell the protests _________ 
  9. _________  are exacerbating the situation _________ 
  10. _________ after decades of relative stasis _________


  1. regarded ___
  2. ___ first glance
  3. owing ___ 
  4. engage ___ 
  5. with respect ___ 
  6. contribute ___
  7. be intent ___ 
  8. correspond ___
  9. compatible ___ 
  10. an increase ___ 


  1. Asian migrants ………… certain niches in the labor market, such as retail, construction and household services, and as visible minorities, they often ………… xenophobic attitudes.
  1. have occupied; encounter
  2. occupy; encounter
  3. occupy; encountered
  4. are occupying; encountered

2. The House vote ………… more than a year after the three countries’ leaders signed the USMCA in Buenos Aires in November 2018 – a longer wait than many …………, but shorter than others ………… after the Republicans lost their House majority in last year’s midterm elections.

  1. had come; anticipated; expected
  2. came; would anticipate; had expected
  3. has come; have anticipated; have expected
  4. came; had anticipated; had expected

3. In light of the intensifying military-technology race with Beijing and the eroding military balance of power in the region, AUKUS ………… to identify and jump-start trilateral efforts focused on quickly fielding cutting-edge military capabilities.

  1. will look
  2. would look
  3. will have looked
  4. will be looking

4. As China’s labor costs rise, production ………… from the coastal regions to the western provinces.

  1. is being relocated
  2. is relocated
  3. will be relocated
  4. will relocate

5. Promises of eventual membership and the long negotiations that precede it will harm the Union if they ………… frustration among candidate countries’ governments and citizens.

  1. generate
  2. will generate
  3. would generate
  4. generated

6. As threats to global stability increase, the EU ………… continue to pursue its strategic interests, as well as attend to the European ambitions and prospects of all the countries in its immediate neighbourhood.

  1. should
  2. must
  3. has to
  4. may

7. ………… the end of the Cold War, globalization brought about a drastic reduction in extreme poverty, not least by enabling East Asian countries, including China, to achieve rapid growth and development.

  1. having followed
  2. following
  3. being followed
  4. followed

8. ………… the crisis affects them, ………… they think largely in national terms.

  1. the more; the most
  2. the more; the more
  3. more; more
  4. more; the most

9. These initiatives, all of ………… aim to boost security and stability across the Indo-Pacific, reflect the region’s ongoing transformation into a “geography of strategies.”

  1. what
  2. that
  3. those
  4. which

10. ………… its amicable relations with Iraq’s Gulf neighbors, China has faced fewer obstacles to its investments. 

  1. due to
  2. because
  3. owing
  4. provided