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Latin American concern about nationalism goes beyond simply coping with routine affairs of national existence It is a concern over the legitimacy of that existence and an uncertainty over what it means It is a question of national identity It is also a question of regional identity for no matter the distinctions between states the many historical cultural and linguistic ties also provide an ambiance of continental nationalism a general Latin American nationalism that is equally as important10 Both the Mexican Carlos Fuentes and the Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa have recently argued from disparate political positions that a crucial aspect of the Central American crisis is the threat of an imposed solution which would jeopardize the respect and credibility of a whole continent 11 Exhibiting their faith in continental nationalism Fuentes declared This is a Latin American problem and it deserves a Latin American solution and from Vargas Llosa The battle for liberty in Latin America will be won strictly by themselves 12 Clearly nationalism as Fuentes earlier observed stands as a serious element of life for Latin Americans In New York however it is as yet a passe subject While Latin Americans are concerned with the topic North American efforts to analyze modern Latin America have omitted or severely limited any discussion of the theme Three of the most widely used textbooks on Latin America particularly the modern period are A Short History of Latin America by Keen and Wasserman13 Modern Latin America by Skidmore and Smith 14 and Latin America Its Problems and Its Promise written and edited by Jan Knippers Black 15 Keen and Wasserman and Skidmore and Smith provide admirable analysis of the modernization processes of distinct political economic and social elements of change and stability but there is no effort to introduce nationalism as a viable analytical concept for understanding Latin America16 In the Black collection nationalism is briefly acknowledged by one author as a potent force favoring
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