The role of foreign enterprise in national development has long been
one of the most hotly debated topics in Latin American history. The
debate dates back to colonial times when monarchs and administra-
tors pondered the role non-Iberian entrepreneurs should play in the
New World empires. Political independence in the nineteenth cen-
tury opened Latin American nations to a massive influx of British,
and later, North American capital, raising new questions about the
role of the foreigner in national affairs. With the emergence of strong
cultural and economic nationalism in the twentieth century, schol-
ars and theorists have focused increasingly on the role of foreign
enterprise and entrepreneurs in the development process.
Despite the attention given to this topic, most of the literature
has concentrated on the national and international arenas. While the
debate has ranged over macroeconomic issues such as the effects of
foreign business on national industry, politics, and the structure of
the national economy, little has been written about the effects at the
local and regional levels. Beyond the traditional tales of exploitation
and repression on the one hand, and the self-serving publications of
businesses on the other, we know very little about the operations and
development of individual firms and their impact on Latin Ameri-
can communities. Case studies of foreign or national firms in Latin
America are a rare commodity, as are longitudinal studies of commu-
nities. The scarcity of such studies for Latin America's largest, most
populous, and economically powerful country is striking. This book
is the most complete and detailed analysis of any foreign firm in
Previous Page Next Page