Political stability, institutions, and governance: The Latin American states have been independent since the early 19 th century. As such, they have a very different experience with direct colonialism as the rest of the developing world (African states, for example, only recently became independent). However, despite the fact that no Western power has exerted direct colonial rule over LA, many argue that the indirect role of the United States has been a significant factor in the failure of LA to successfully develop. Since the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, the United States has considered the Western Hemisphere its sphere of influence. The US has intervened significantly in LA throughout history – from direct occupation of states like Cuba, to overthrowing governments in places like Guatemala in 1954, and Chile in 1973. Also, the US has supported military coups throughout the post Cold War era which have brought dictators to power. Even in 2002, the US was supportive of the coup attempt to overthrow Hugo
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