Journal of Latin American Studies

Research Article

Argentine Territorial Nationalism

Carlos Escudé

One important cultural factor which has contributed to inhibiting regional cooperation and integration in Latin America lies in the intense territorial nationalism prevailing in several of the Spanish-speaking countries. This frequently underrated phenomenon is an outgrowth of the great number of territorial disputes still to be found in the region and the indoctrination of public opinion through the educational systems and the mass media that often accompanies them.1 At least the following disputes can be considered as having greatly affected the international relations of these countries in recent years:

Argentina vs. Chile. The core of the problem (the dispute over three tiny islands in the Beagle Channel) was solved with the Treaty of Peace and Friendship signed in 1984 and ratified in 1985, but it almost led to war in 1978 and was an excuse for intensive nationalistic indoctrination over several years. It generated arms races and military mobilisation, concomitantly frustrating a natural potential for economic complementarity and integration. The territorial disputes yet unsolved are very minor, but distrust will probably linger on for many years.