Why is the Caribbean Not Part of Latin America?

The Caribbean and Latin America are two distinct regions, determined by language and colonial influences. Countries such as Jamaica, Belize, Suriname and Guyana are not included in Latin America. In the post-Cold War world, Latin America and the Caribbean have become increasingly important due to their cultural dynamism, agricultural capacity and energy reserves. The term Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is an acronym used to refer to the region. The Duke University provides opportunities for undergraduate students to research in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Despite the region's progress in terms of democracy and prosperity, tensions between North and South still exist. The term 'Latin' is misleading as it implies an equal importance of French and Italian contributions, which is far from the case. The Asia-Pacific region, particularly China, has become a major trading partner for Latin America and the Caribbean. Guyana is the only country in South America whose official language is English, like most Caribbean islands. This makes it distinct from other South American countries which have a larger Latin American population.

According to the United Nations Geoscheme for the Americas, Latin America and the Caribbean are considered a composite subregion that is divided into various countries. The terms 'South America' and 'Latin America' are often confused. To address this problem, all of Mexico, together with Central and South American countries can be grouped under 'Latin America', while the United States and Canada are referred to as 'Anglo-America'. Christopher Columbus initially thought he had found a shortcut to Asia when he arrived in the Caribbean in 1492, but Amerigo Vespucci later realized that these lands constituted a New World for Europeans. The peoples of Latin America shared the experience of conquest and colonization by Spaniards and Portuguese from the 15th to 18th centuries. Today, there is a perception in Latin America and the Caribbean that the United States lacks a strategic vision for the region.

While Latin America also includes countries with French heritage, Spanish and Portuguese elements occupy such an important place in its history that some suggest 'Ibero-America' would be a better term than 'Latin America'.

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