This book investigates efforts to promote the political and economic unification of Latin America. Every generation of the region has known some effort to promote these policies. The movement has gone through four major stages. The first endeavors were undertaken by diplomats, the second by idealists, the third by technocrats and the fourth stage is now dominated by pro-unification political leaders. Efforts toward integration were initiated to promote the economies and political stability of these countries - Latin Americans were among the first of the old ""third world"" people to advance such programmes. The author argues that the political unification of Latin America has been stymied by the political class, but that this trend is currently being reversed. The Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) is presently accomplishing this task. The recent accession of Venezuela after a grueling political-ideological struggle, which is examined in the book, has spurred other countries to seek full membership in the group. It is now the third largest trade bloc in the world and will continue to grow over the next few years.