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Peacekeeping, Latin America and the UN Charter’s Chapter VIII: Past Initiatives and Future Prospects

Authorities at the United Nations have repeatedly called on regional organizations to step up their commitment in the area of peacekeeping. These calls are based on Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, which gives regional organizations a role in international peace and security. While organizations in Europe and Africa have created regional peacekeeping arrangements, such have failed to emerge in Latin America. This is puzzling, for different reasons. On the one hand, several countries have recently sought to increase their peacekeeping profile. States have strong incentives to pool their resources, especially if they face budgetary constraints such as the developing countries of Latin America. On the other hand, peacekeeping might provide an answer to some of the security problems the region faces. This article provides an evaluation of how Latin America has responded to the global demand to develop regional peacekeeping capacities. I argue that cooperation in peacekeeping has mainly been the result of foreign policy considerations rather than a concern for peacekeeping per se. In light of past experiences of shallow institutionalization, the article concludes with a reflection on the future prospects for a Latin American peacekeeping framework.