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Traditional International Trade Environment

According to Secchi, "European countries have long been involved in the financing of Latin American development," primarily for the construction of South American transportation and power infrastructures in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, for most of this century, American private traders and investors in Latin American owned or dominated the production of agricultural products for export, especially in Central America, crude petroleum and mineral mined in Mexico and South America. Before and just after the Second World War, nationalist revolutions in key countries such as Argentina, Mexico and Venezuela reduced or eliminated American control over the production of some commodities, but Latin America for the most part remained an American trading fiefdom until the 1980s.

For Latin America, the period 1913-1945 produced alternating cycles of rapid economic growth and stagnation/decline, the latter being especially sharp during the Great Depression when international trade collapsed and international commodity prices plummeted.

Fueled by nationalist sentiment, many less developed countries turned after World War II to national economic planning and forced industrialization as a solution to their political, economic and social woes and in particular sought to reduce their dependence on the developed world by adopting policies such as hig


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