By Colin – I first visited Latin America in 2007 and moved here in 2008. I think it’s great. But not everybody thinks so.
They might think Mexico or Brazil are great, or Peru or Argentina. But nobody thinks Uruguay is great. Nobody thinks Ecuador is great, and certainly, nobody thinks shitholes like Venezuela or Honduras are great. Why?
After having American history pounded into your brain growing up in the States, it’s a little weird learning how things went down here. Where the Americans built a nation based on a vision for a new kind of society and government, in Latin America there was no appetite for a new way of doing things. Where victories came early and often for the States, things were chaotic across Latin America, a comedy of errors.
And almost without exception (Brazil), the newly independent countries of Spanish America splintered into less significant, less powerful territories and even city states (Uruguay). The caudillos and idle aristocracies of various regions could not get along with each other without a Catholic monarchy as the masthead.
When it came down to these caudillos’ own family interests vs. those of the new nation, they chose their own and went to war. They never learned the quintessential democratic value of compromise. As a result, Latin America is rife with shitholes (notice how the use of that term on this blog has increased 1000% since you-know-who used it).
So in the long tradition of old white dudes redrawing national borders to improve governance and make things more efficient, I’m going to chop up and remix Latin America.
Make Latin America Great Again!
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Under my scheme, Latin America less Jamaica and company spans eight* countries, down from a whopping and redundant 23**.
* Eight assuming Hispaniola comes to fruition.
** 23 plus Puerto Rico, so 23.5.
Below is a country-by-country explanation of the thinking behind the new borders and why this increases greatness in Latin America.
Brazil was the only colony to hold together in independence, largely because independence was delayed when the Portuguese king brought his court to Rio de Janeiro. The managed transition that ensued held Brazil as one or it would surely have followed the same fate as Spanish America.
Brazil will absorb Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. Brazilians may not be happy about picking up only three shithole countries, and the fact that most people in the world wouldn’t know which continent those three are on. But we don’t want any more Portuguese speaking than there already is. Portuguese is not great.
So the new Brasil gets just three. To make up for it we’ll stop spelling their name wrong. No more Brasil with a Z.
The countries of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay will be merged into one. The new state will be headquartered in Buenos Aires, but it won’t be called Argentina due to their historic fall from grace over the last century and appalling economic disappointment. They need a new name to symbolize a fresh start.
Uruguay should almost win the right to govern from Montevideo for being one of the region’s most stable democracies, but with a population just north of 3 million they’re not really a country anyway. They’re a city state, so fewer props for what’s really just a mayor running an efficient city hall.
As for Paraguay, well what can you say about Paraguay? Maybe you know the name of the capital and that over 10% of the people don’t speak Spanish. Do you know why you don’t know anything else? Because Paraguay is not great.
But they can be great, under the new country called “Rioplata” after the former colony, Rio de la Plata. That name, however, is four words. And under my new scheme I won’t allow any country to have more than one word in their name. It must be simple, like “America” for example.
I was tempted to merge Chile under Rioplata but it broke my heart to lose the region’s leading performer in social progress and economic indicators. Chile is always a step ahead of the region in development, given Uruguay is not really a country of course, and it’d be a shame to dilute that governance with the Argentine half-wits and never-do-wells.
But I’m transferring Chile’s Atacama Desert back to Peru. Don’t be a pain in the ass about it, Chile. I let you keep your country, and I gave you that little nib of Argentina at the southern tip of the continent.
Peru will absorb Bolivia, formerly known as “Upper Peru” (Alto Peru) for its altitude. Maybe Peru’s leading gastronomy and tourism sectors will help Bolivians, and maybe Bolivians can instill some of their indigenous pride in Peru’s self-hating cholos.
Peru will also regain the Atacama Desert from Chile, including the port cities of Arica and Antofagasta. That land is rich with copper, and Chile needs to get on without it already.
I was tempted to transfer Ecuador to Peru also, on the justification that Quito was a large kingdom of the Incas. But then I thought the Spanish must have put it under Gran Colombia for a reason. Whatever reason that is, let’s leave it alone.
Gran Colombia will be reunited sans Panama, with Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador forming Gran Colombia sans “Gran.” Only one word allowed, so it’s just “Colombia.”
Venezuela has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt their inability to govern themselves, so better to transfer the decision-making to the adults in Bogota. Interestingly, if I would have redrawn this map 25 years ago it probably would have had the opposite result, with the inept Colombians subjugated to the more prosperous Venezuelans in Caracas.
Ecuador will also come under Colombia, and their three flags will be easy to merge, but I had to give the Galapagos Islands to Panama. I’m worried the Colombians will turn the place into a sex-tourism paradise with yachts filled with prepagos and Aguila-branded thatch huts selling aguardiente and cocaine all while blaring vallenato.
Vallenato is not great and the ecotourists and scientists would be appalled, so best to keep the islands under the gringo-trained Panamanians and Costa Ricans.
The Panama Canal is too important to transfer to a country like Colombia, which may be doing well now but has proven flaky enough throughout history not to trust with this important shipping lane for world trade. Teddy Roosevelt took that shit away for a reason!
As much as it pains me to create such a tiny state in my epic redrawing of Latin America, I also want to preserve the competent political and economic management of Panama and Costa Rica. So I will transfer the shithole of Nicaragua to them as well. Nicaragua has a good number of those black rasta types from the Caribbean, so that’s justification enough to lump them in with the Costa Ricans and Panamanians instead of the Mayans to the north.
Panama was the original name of the area during the colonial era, and Costa Rica is two words. So we’re going with “Panama” for the name, and they’ll be getting control of the Galapagos Islands. The Costa Ricans’ expertise in tourism and the Panamanians experience in shipping should improve the state of the islands and the gringos’ experience. Make the Galapagos great again!
San Andres goes to Panama, just because I honeymooned there and enjoyed everything about it except for the vallenato. Removing the Colombian influence is the best way to preserve its Raizal culture.
Mexico, for all its problems with drug gangs and violence, is the strongest Spanish-speaking nation in Latin America and a cultural giant. It’s great on its own.
And it makes no sense to have three extremely violent and poverty-stricken shitholes in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to the south. So Mexico will absorb their 32 million combined inhabitants, which still won’t bring it to even half of its Nueva España splendor, but will lend some greatness to the three aforementioned shitholes.
The situation in the Caribbean presented a difficult challenge. All four countries in Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are relative shitholes. Only DR has proven itself capable of self-governance, and that has only been recent.
Let’s start with the easy one: Haiti, the Americas’ most failed state. Haiti can be absorbed into the Dominican Republic by reuniting the island of Santo Domingo.
Cuba’s also a shithole whose political system has only survived this long because they’re an island. Time to join the 21st century, and that won’t happen with the current government or any of its officials, not even the buildings. So they’ll be managed from Santo Domingo.
Puerto Rico presents a bit of a challenge because they’re a U.S. territory (as many poorly educated Americans learned after Hurricane Maria), and the American citizens who are “Puerto Ricans” have never shown the least interest in independence, not that they’re capable anyway. They just haven’t opted for full statehood. So what to do with them?
Well, it’s time for the PRs to shit or get off the pot. They’re going to hold a referendum in which they will choose between American statehood or they will break off. But breaking off won’t mean independence since they’re far too small and incompetent. Their choice will be statehood in America or form part of Hispaniola, headquartered in Santo Domingo. In New York you can’t tell the difference between a Puerto Rican and a Dominican anyway, so they’ll get along just fine.
With this idea of Hispaniola coming together, I realized it’s probably not wise to lump two major shitholes in Haiti and Cuba and possibly one more in Puerto Rico (although there’s no chance in hell they’ll give up the blue passport) under a barely competent state (and maybe even a shithole) in the Dominican Republic.
So I backed up and thought about Cuba again, how close they are to Florida both geographically and culturally, and the fact that they were an American territory for a few years before seceding and fucking it all up. Should Cuba lose their chance to join the U.S. just because they weren’t as wise as Puerto Rico in not striking out on their own?
So I decided to also hold a referendum in Cuba to decide whether they would rather form a state in the United States or join Hispaniola in Santo Domingo.
With this new development, both Puerto Rico and Cuba will be voting whether or not to join the United States. Then I realized that it’s not just possible but highly likely that both islands will choose Team America over the merged Dominican Republic and Haiti, which would probably be a shithole by and large. So to be fair, why not give Hispaniola a choice too?
Now each of the three islands will have the option to join the United States. But then I thought, what happens if the Dominican-Haitian vote opts for American statehood and one or both of the others do not? What kind of country would that look like? So the answer is that Hispaniola’s referendum will be held first, and the other two will only hold referendums if Hispaniola opts for independence. If they don’t, PR and Cuba will automatically be annexed into American states. They will greet us as liberators!
Hence the asterisk in the map.
As I was looking at the map, I realized these islands could be given the option to merge with Panama to create what would be a Caribbean power. But I had already designed the maps. And you generally don’t want that many Caribbeans in one place. Fuck that noise. Having them divided is better for the region.
My plan kicks ass. Make Latin America great again!