Talk:Latin America

From Academic Kids

casual conversation to refer to, say, Bolivians, would be misunderstood. It is pretty to say "Estadounidense" in Spanish -- but, it is pretty awkward in English , which is perhaps why I have never heard any "American" refer to themselves as a "United Statesian."

Well, ANYTHING would be better than to continue callin United Statesians "Americans." And you are quite right that technically Canadians and Mexican's are also North Americans. But at least, calling USians "norte AMericanos" is a lot more specific than calling them "Americanos." Slrubenstein
Is it appropriate to sermonize in an wikipedia article on how we wish people would use the terms ? (Not rhetorical; I don't know the answer.) -- ll

Actually, most references I have seen (World Book, Britannica) include Haiti as part of "Latin America".


Ibero America

"IberoAmerica offently includes Spain and Portugal." -- Can't figure out what writer was trying to say. Removing "offently". ("Often"? I don't think it would be quite right to write ""IberoAmerica often includes Spain and Portugal.")


"Most usually it only refers to the nations" I find that awkward to read. What about "Usually it refers specifically to the nations"... ? -- ll

Also, what about mentioning Hispanoamericana, or should that occur only in the Spanish version ? -- ll


Why retaining "Latino" is an irony? Somebody care to explain?

yeah, is an irony because when france seize control of Mexico there where still many Mexicans that's just want them to go away, so they created the term expecting the whole population to accept them ("hey, look, we aren't that different from you, what are you so mad about?") to give legitimity to their authority. but, the Mexicans has already had an invasion form United States, which more them letting them with bitterness against the "americans" left them with a bitterness against foreign authority so even if Maxilian were able to prove he would had been a wonderful emperor he wouldn't had been accepted, laterly they expelled most of the frenchs out, and I supose killed the rest because don't know anyone with french last name but I know many wong's, the irony mostly lays in the fact that they didn't where willing to accept the frenchs but they accepted their term and made an effort to promote it. the term latin american is related most to a feeling of belonging and close cultural relations (altough not homogenized, of course!) than to the gramatically correct definition that's why Canada isn't normally counted in.

if the canadians start saying they are latin americans they will join the "family". I'm Mexican and personally I don't have anything against frenchs neither against "americans".

Latin America

I'm from a latin european country,

It is sad to see how so much american people make wrong use of words...

"latin" is a cultural reference to language and culture coming from a latin-language speaking country... that is to say from spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian and French. French is as much a latin language as spanish  !

So "latin america" means countries where official language and culture is coming from spanish, portuguese or french. Excluying french speaking countries of america is a non-sence. If Quebec would be a independent country it should be considered as much as a latin american country than argentina, and even maybe more than mexico, guatemala or peru, whose countries are almost as much native indian than latin...

In the same time I saw so much of US websites considering Jamaica, Belize, Guyana or Surinam as "latin" !!!... Those countries are ENGLISH and DUTCH speaking !! In this cas why not include USA in latin america !!!!!! (I'm kidding!)

I'm sometimes asking myself if some american people know the signification of the words they use !!

Can any american people can explain to me why they don't consider french speaking countries of america as "latin" ?

In europe it is something that we have difficulties to understand...

Is it because in north america the anglosaxon people gave a negative meaning to the word "latin". Especially about poverty and underdevelopment ?

In this cas if in ten or twenty years, if some latin american countries become as developped as north american countries, will they be not considered as "latin" anymore ?...

Is it the reason why Quebecers are not considered as latin americans...Quebec is a developped and rich latin country and is in america, so why not is not considered latin-american by the people in USA ??!

Because it is a Canadian province belonging to the commonwealth country of Canada. Canada has two major languages, French and English. Since it is mostly English speaking it cannot be considered a latin country. Unless you want to call Quebec a latin province. I live in Canada and when I hear someone say latin America I think South America immediately. I do not think of Haiti or any other French speaking nation, however. Perhaps thats due to ignorance. I associated latin with Spanish and Portugese speaking all my life.

=> Strangely enough: 1) There are French, English and Dutch speaking countries/regions in South America 2) Portuguese descendants in South American don't consider themselves any more "Latin" than French and Italian descendants in North America. So what is the difference? I would say it is lack of imformation on South America.


....In Response...

I will be your American explaining to you why anyone, not just us, does not all the countries of Central and South America, 'Latin America.'

You say how sad it is to see how American's make wrong use of words, well I find it sad that you would go ahead and criticize American's when you yourself do not know the origination for the term 'Latin America'. Yes it is true that French is derived from the Latin language, but it is also the French that deemed the Central and Southern American Countries as 'Latin America'. So it was not the Americans who coined this term, it was the French themselves. I therefore do not believe that they were as upset about the term as you seem to be. It will always be Latin America, not just when they are no longer in a state of poverty, but because the French were so influential in the 1850s.

Clearly Americans are not using this term of 'Latin America' incorrectly and neither is anyone else for that matter. I found it most interesting how quick you were to assume that the Americans of the United States were the ones who classified Central and South America as Latin America when it was your own ancestors in the 19th century. So before you start pointing fingers at other countries for their ignorance, perhaps you should check on your own. So all in the while of trying to make a fool of The United States, you have only embarrassed yourselves. And by the way, Americans is a term that is used to categorize everyone in North and South Americas. You can find more about this in John Charles Chasteen in his book 'Born in Blood and Fire' a Concise History of Latin America on page 156.

reply to above:

I´ll be your american (not as united statesian) telling you to read the text above again. You only go on and on about how the french created the expression. Who created it isn't important, what matters here is that it's being used incorrectly.

You then states that no one is using the term incorrectly but fails to explain why.

The term "latin america" is being used incorrectly, read all texts on this talk to find out why.

vs. South America

The article says that Latin Americ acovers South America, but the latter counts three more island states. Please clarify. Mikkalai 17:06, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

You didn't answer to the question

I know the origin of the expression "latin america", I know that it was created during Napoleon III at the time of the intervention in Mexico, with the purpose of including in a same concept the former colonies of Spain, Portugal and France : It was a political strategy. But at this time, the origin of this concept the french speaking countries of america were included in it...

I never said that the people of USA invented the word "latin america" !!! I agree with that fact to include portuguese and spanish speaking countries of america under the label "latin-america", but I'm just asking why nowadays In the mind of the people of USA the francophones americans are excluded of this concept... I still don't have my answer...

Ps: I know that "american" means all the people who live in america (north and south), but your country is the only country without name... in spanish we can say "estadounidenses", in french you can say "états-uniens"... I'm not sure to be understood I say "united-statians"... even in this case it is not a precise name because there is also "the united states of mexico" (the true name of mexico)

The "United States of Mexico" is a common misconception and is certainly not "the true name of Mexico". Under the 1917 constitution the name is "Estados Unidos Mexicanos", which gets officially translated as "United Mexican States" (check, eg, the English text of NAFTA) although "Mexican United States" would reflect the sense of the Spanish word order more closely. However, no one ever uses the short form "Estados Unidos", or the adj. estadounidense, to refer to Mexico -- it just doesn't, can't mean that. Hajor


I aggree. When Brazilians think "Latin" as a cultural/ethnic definition, they certainly include all Latin peoples (French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish). When they think "Latin" as a geographical location. they think about all Latin American countries, including coutries colonised by England, France etc. Yet, in the United States the term seems to have a ethnic/cultural meaning, and yet include only the people from South/ Central America. I believe this confusion comes from American lack of knowledge about Latin America realities. Most Americans I know are really shocked when I tell them French people are Latin too.

Those who are currently in North America and get C-SPAN on cable TV may have had the opportunity to watch a recent lecture by former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso in the Library of Congress in Washington where, much to the surprise of the American audience, he revealed that he only found out he was a "Latin American" back when he was living in France! What president Cardoso meant is that, until recently, most Brazilians, particularly the urban white middle-class, used to see Brazil as culturally distinct from its Spanish-speaking neighbors and, accordingly, did not think of Brazil as part of a monolithic group of nations otherwise referred to as "Latin America". "Latin America" was actually, in the opinion of many Brazilians, just an artificial concept that had been created in the 19th century, precisely by the French, basically to prop up French influence in the newly independent countries of South America. Perceptions in Brazil started to change though by the mid-1980s when Brazilian foreign policy and strategic thinking began to emphasize a closer relationship first with Argentina and, later, with South America as a whole. Gradually then, as president Cardoso also mentioned in his lecture, Brazilians came to accept that they had a much closer cultural identity with their neighbors to the south and west than with those European or perhaps, for some ethnic groups, African countries which had previously served as cultural references for the Brazilian society. In the early 21st century then, Brazilians seem to have finally embraced their "Latin American" identity although part of the middle-class, particularly wealthy "paulistanos", still feel somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of "Latin America" as they find it hard to see themselves bundled together in the same group as Mexicans, Colombians or Cubans for example.

"Latinamericanization" of Latin America

"This mixture of cultures and keeping of certain traditions and doing away with others has made Latin America the unique, yet very influenced culture that it has today. Culture mixes are not only about the languages and religions, but also about the dance and music of Latin America as well. A Latino is a person of Latin American heritage, or from a Latin American culture."

I'm a Brazilian and a South American. Although one has to admit that Latin American countries share some traits, the idea of a Latin American culture seems a gross simplification, drenched in stereotypes and misconceptions about the region. This idea can be dangerous in the sense that it might foster discrimination and downplay ethnic issues in Latin America.

Here are my thoughts on the subject:


According to American laws and most Brazilians? self-perception people who come from the Portuguese former colonies are neither "latino" or "hispanic". Although they might be consider themselves as "Latin" if they are talking solely about the place they come from.

This is because Brazil ? as well as many South American countries ? has been a main immigration area just like the US. Brazil has German, Angolan, Arab, Jewish and Japanese descendants - to quote a few. These people don?t identify with the term ?latino? as it is used in the US. They do identify as a single nation (Brazil) but not as a single ethnic/cultural group. The idea that a relatively more intense miscegenation has given South America, and particularly Brazil, a homogenous and easily identifiable ethnic/cultural background has been contested by many authors. Miscigenation has varied greatly according to area and ethnic group, and they rarely resulted in a common ethnic/cultural background, since we are talking about many immigration waves, coming from every corner of the world over the centuries.

To quote Alan P Marcus: ?The Portuguese language spoken in Brazil, Brazilian ethnicity, and Brazilian culture are not interchangeable with "Spanish/Hispanic/Latino" (These three words are defined as synonyms by the US census). The Jeitinho Brasileiro ("The Brazilian way"), the Jogo Bonito ("The Beautiful Game", a Brazilian reference to Brazilian-style soccer) and Samba (Unique Brazilian Samba music), are not interchangeable with "Spanish/Hispanic/Latino". In addition, the Brazilian raison d'ętre is devoid of any relationship within the "Hispanic-Latino" paradigms.

In a sense, "Hispanic" and "Latino" have inaccurately "racialized" all Latin Americans, and have thus "latinamericanized" all of Latin America monolithically and homogenously.

The implication is that there is an illusory "Hispanic" or "Latino" "race" or that there is a single imaginary country where "Hispanics" and "Latinos" come from, and of course, neither is true. ?


The idea of an homogenous ethnic/cultural Latin background has been used to deny ethnic struggles in South America and allianate ethnic minorities from power (particularly African and Native descendants). Gilberto Freire's idea of "Racial Democracy" in Brazil, which overstresses white/native/African miscigenation, has been extremely criticised for its conservative and anti-democratic content. It downplays the fact that white European descendants still rule the country and have far more access to schools, jobs and wealth.


The terms ?latino? and ?latin? are not interchangeable. Latin refers to French, Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian and Italian speakers . ?Latino?, as used by the US law, is an inaccurate, simplistic and stereotypical term to describe the diverse emigrants from Spanish America. Sometimes these terms are also wrongly applied to Brazilian emigrants by the American media.

When Brazilians refer to themselves as South Americans or Latin Americans, they don?t mean to describe their ethnic or cultural background, since there are Italian Brazilians, Angolan Brazilians, German Brazilians, Japanese Brazilians, Portuguese Brazilians, Spanish Brazilians and so on. Ethnic and cultural background will vary according to each individual. When Brazilians refer to themselves as South or Latin Americans they mean only the place they come from.

However, in the US, the terms Latin American and South American seem to have acquired a cultural/ethnic meaning, which most Brazilians find very disturbing, since that represents a denial of their specific cultural backgrounds and the identities they learned to have as point of reference.

To call Brazilians ?Latinos? is very comparable to state that every American -Anglo saxon American, African American, Asian American, etc - is an ?Asian?. It downplays social and ethnic struggles over the centuries of colonization and make ethnic "minorities" such as African and Native descendants invisible and powerless.


"latino" is a word that only reffers to the cultures with the native indian origins !!!!

Only the people with native indian origins can be said "latino". That the reason why argentinians are not latins. Us, the people of Guatemala we are the true latinos (like Peruvians, Bolivians, Ecutorians, Mexicans...) because we have a few european blood. I think we should exclude definitivly the people of argentina, Brazil or uruguay from the term "latin-america" because thay have nothing in common with our indian(latino) culture. We should stop to speak spanish and stop being catholics because it is a european language and a european religion, AND NOT LATINO ONES !! But I think we should include in "latin-america" all the native indian reservations of USA and Canada were are living our latin brothers !

I don't know why some Europeans that are not latinos at all want to be condidered as native indians like we are !!! Please leave that label for the true latinos... The fact that people of spain and portugal colonized our latin countries doesn't make latinos of themselves !! Those countries colonized some countries of Africa but nobody say that Spain and Portugal are African... They stole our gold, but they won't stole our name !!! --

Besides, aren't there fully indigenous Argentines...and Guatemalans of European descent?

I'm sorry, but you're wrong. For your information, the word latino does not mean Native American Indian.
Here's a definition from WordNet:
related to or derived from the people or culture of Spain; "the Hispanic population of California is growing rapidly" [syn: Hispanic]
1: an American whose first language is Spanish [syn: Spanish American, Hispanic American, Hispanic]
2: an artificial language based on words common to the Romance languages

Another definition from The American Heritage [1] (
1. A Latin American.
2. A person of Hispanic, especially Latin-American, descent, often one living in the United States.
Short for Spanish latinoamericano, Latin-American, from latino, Latin, from Latin Latinus.
And a Usage Note from Hispanic (, in the same dictionary:
Though often used interchangeably in American English, Hispanic and Latino are not identical terms, and in certain contexts the choice between them can be significant. Hispanic, from the Latin word for “Spain,” has the broader reference, potentially encompassing all Spanish-speaking peoples in both hemispheres and emphasizing the common denominator of language among communities that sometimes have little else in common. Latino—which in Spanish means "Latin" but which as an English word is probably a shortening of the Spanish word latinoamericano—refers more exclusively to persons or communities of Latin American origin. Of the two, only Hispanic can be used in referring to Spain and its history and culture; a native of Spain residing in the United States is a Hispanic, not a Latino, and one cannot substitute Latino in the phrase the Hispanic influence on native Mexican cultures without garbling the meaning. In practice, however, this distinction is of little significance when referring to residents of the United States, most of whom are of Latin American origin and can theoretically be called by either word. •A more important distinction concerns the sociopolitical rift that has opened between Latino and Hispanic in American usage. For a certain segment of the Spanish-speaking population, Latino is a term of ethnic pride and Hispanic a label that borders on the offensive. According to this view, Hispanic lacks the authenticity and cultural resonance of Latino, with its Spanish sound and its ability to show the feminine form Latina when used of women. Furthermore, Hispanic—the term used by the U.S. Census Bureau and other government agencies—is said to bear the stamp of an Anglo establishment far removed from the concerns of the Spanish-speaking community. While these views are strongly held by some, they are by no means universal, and the division in usage seems as related to geography as it is to politics, with Latino widely preferred in California and Hispanic the more usual term in Florida and Texas. Even in these regions, however, usage is often mixed, and it is not uncommon to find both terms used by the same writer or speaker.
--Cantus 19:25, 9 May 2004 (UTC)

Why isn't the contents list at the top of the page, instead of in the middle. This is driving me crazy. I would fix it my self if i knew how. February 2005

My experience

First, I consider the term Latin-America has incorrect. And the use of the word "Latino" has gross!

My experience: I worked at the same office (not very big) with latin heritage ppl, and we were all Portuguese, Spanish, Argentinians and Brazilians. Truthfully, our cultures are really very similar and so I understand the British and American point of view. There's no civilizational chock, no cultural chock, our social behaviour is very similar and conversations went very easily (often choose one language to speak (Port. or Spanish), there were 3-4 native languages - if you consider galician has one: Spanish, Catalan, Galician and Portuguese). What doesnt happen when a German or a British comes around, that are culturally completly different, but in the "Latin" point of view Germans and British have similar cultures.

I think the term Latin American is not fully correct. For me, really Latin cultures are in Portugal, Spain and Italy, and in not has big extent in France/ Belgium and Romania. Greece (has many cultural similarities with latins). If you consider the Latin American countries has an all, with all its population, its not Latin (even if there are many people that are real Latinos). I find upsetting that Anglo-saxon people consider Latino has a mixed blood. Not that I dislike mix blooded people, in fact, by the contrary! But you cant name something with a name that has nothing to do with it. Latin is a culture that started in the centre of Italy and spread to some European countries in a cultural influence that toke centuries that even today pagan festivities and culture persist. My mother went it thounders uses to say "god is furious!" "Deus está furioso". She doesnt know but the Deus (dios) is not the Christian god, but Jupiter (aka Zeus or Dios or deus). Obviously, Latin culture is much more than this. BTW, I'm Portuguese.

A better term is Ibero-American (due to language and History and partially culture). I think Latin American is just a missconception. The Latins (aka Romans) didnt rule over the Americas... but over Europe and due to imigration/influence their culture prevailed in Iberia, French Riviera and Italy - Places of the Empire that were similar in weather to their original Place (central Italy). Portuguese and Spanish settlers in the Americas, they toke with them their particular Latin culture (Portuguese and Spanish), but they mixed it with African and Amerindian cultures. You register your Children (forgive me the term) after your name and not over your father's! While Latin culture completly overtook the real Latin countries (can easily be seen by the similar cultures of Portugal and Spain even thought both are seperated a thousand yrs), the Portuguese and Spanish culture overtook in some places in the Americas (it really did), but most South Americans have also a mixed culture, very far from the Latin one. Terms like "Latin American" has to be erased and wikipedia is not helping much, it is even spreading the missconception. -Pedro 02:22, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Cleanup and Expansion

I added the cleanup tag because I believe there are many relevant issues that this article is not addressing. I like the fact that the article is relatively straightforward, but it just seems that there really should be more about the modern social, cultural, economic and diplomatic issues that are shared by many Latin American countries. I will do my best to contribute as much as I can in the areas that I feel I am somewhat knowledgeable. Modern political movements and trends in Latin America could almost be an article in and of itself, but I think it would work well as a section of this article. In any event, this was my reasoning when I placed the cleanup tag in the article. I hope you understand my perspective. --Xaliqen 05:56, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

I am from Mexico and read most of what is written here. Latino/Latina is so incorrectly used in the United States it's not funny. In Mexico we refer to the people in the United States as Estadounidenses--United Statessens and yes, Mexico is part of North America, and we refer to ourselves as Iberoamericanos because of the Spanish conquest and because we are a Spanish speaking language. However, the idiosyncracies that United Statessens use with "terms" to call people, I have decided are politcally motivated and for purposes of separating people. In Mexico if you are Lebanese, Italian, German, French, Swiss, or other ancestry, you are Mexican..all the same, it helps against separation of people. When one applies for a job or anything else, college, etc. we are not so narrowed in trying to fit in a box by identifying "what" we are, this also helps. MN

The True Origin I find it so frustrating that with all this debate about the origin of the term "Latin America" and also the term "Latino", that not one person addresses the fact that by its very name, both terms originate from the LATIN language and the ancient country of LATIUM, which is modern-day Italy. Considering that the origin is undeniably from Italy, why then are Italians excluded from the term "latin"? As an Italian-American living in California, where Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, and other Spanish-speaking peoples make up a huge percentage of the population, I am constantly hearing the term "latino" used incorrectly, and I have to wonder why. Especially interesting to me is how it is a term of ethnic pride for many people, and totally exclusionary of the orginal latin-culture...Italian! MJ, 22 June 2005


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