|GDP||$3.33 Trillion (exchange rate) |
$5.62 Trillion (purchasing power parity)
|Languages||Spanish, Portuguese, French, Quechua, Aymara, Nahuatl, Mayan languages, Guaraní, English, Haitian Creole, Papiamentu, Dutch, and many others|
|Time Zones||UTC-2 (Brazil) to UTC-8 (Mexico)|
|Largest Urban Agglomerations ||1. Mexico City|
2. São Paulo
3. Buenos Aires
4. Rio de Janeiro
8. Belo Horizonte
10. Porto Alegre
Latin America (Spanish; Castilian: América Latina or Latinoamérica; Portuguese: América Latina; French: Amérique latine) is a region of the Americas where Romance languages (i.e., those derived from Latin) – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. 
The distinction between Latin America and Anglo-America, and more generally the stress on European heritage (or Eurocentrism), is simply a convention by which Romance-language and English-speaking cultures are distinguished, currently being the predominant languages in the Americas. There are, of course, many places in the Americas (e.g. highland Ecuador, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Paraguay) where American Indian cultures and languages are predominant, as well as areas in which the influence of African cultures is strong (e.g. the Caribbean, including parts of Colombia and Venezuela, coastal Ecuador, and coastal Brazil).
U.S. influences shaped the cultures of Latin America, especially those of Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico as a U.S. territory. In addition, the U.S. held a territory in a swath of land in Panama over the 20-mile-long Panama Canal from 1903 (the canal opened to transoceanic freight traffic in 1914) to 1979 when the U.S. government agreed to give the territory back to Panama.
See main article: History of Latin America.
See also: History of South America. for a treatment of pre-Columbian civilizations and a general overview of the region's history.
The Americas are thought to have been first inhabited by people crossing the Bering Land Bridge, now the Bering strait, from northeast Asia into Alaska more than 10,000 years ago. Over the course of millennia, people spread to all parts of the continents. By the first millennium AD/CE, South America’s vast rainforests, mountains, plains and coasts were the home of tens of millions of people. The earliest settlements in the Americas are of the Las Vegas Culture from about 8000 BC and 4600 BC, a sedentary group from the coast of Ecuador, the forefathers of the more known Valdivia culture, of the same era. Some groups formed more permanent settlements such as the Chibchas (or "Muiscas" or "Muyscas") and the Tairona groups. The Chibchas of Colombia, the Quechuas of Peru, and the Aymaras of Bolivia were the three Indian groups that settled most permanently.
The region was home to many indigenous peoples and advanced civilizations, including the Aztecs, Toltecs, Caribs, Tupi, Maya, and Inca. The golden age of the Maya began about 250, with the last two great civilizations, the Aztecs and Incas, emerging into prominence later on in the early fourteenth century and mid-fifteenth centuries, respectively.
With the arrival of the Europeans following Christopher Columbus's voyages, the indigenous elites, such as the Incans and Aztecs, lost power to the Europeans. Hernán Cortés destroyed the Aztec elite's power with the help of local groups who disliked the Aztec elite, and Francisco Pizarro eliminated the Incan rule in Western South America. European powers, most notably Spain and Portugal, colonized the region, which along with the rest of the uncolonized world was divided into areas of Spanish and Portuguese control by the Line of Demarcation in 1493, which gave Spain all areas to the west, and Portugal all areas to the east (the Portuguese lands in South America subsequently becoming Brazil). By the end of the sixteenth century, Europeans occupied large areas of North, Central and South America, extending all the way into the present southern United States. European culture and government was imposed, with the Roman Catholic Church becoming a major economic and political power, as well as the official religion of the region.
Diseases brought by the Europeans, such as smallpox and measles, wiped out a large proportion of the indigenous population, with epidemics of diseases reducing them sharply from their prior populations. Historians cannot determine the number of natives who died due to European diseases, but some put the figures as high as 85% and as low as 20%. Due to the lack of written records, specific numbers are hard to verify. Many of the survivors were forced to work in European plantations and mines. Intermixing between the indigenous peoples and the European colonists was very common, and, by the end of the colonial period, people of mixed ancestry (mestizos) formed majorities in several colonies.
By the end of the eighteenth century, Spanish and Portuguese power waned as other European powers took their place, notably Britain and France. Resentment grew over the restrictions imposed by the Spanish government, as well as the dominance of native Spaniards (Iberian-born peninsulares) over the major institutions and the majority population, including the colonial-born Spaniards (criollos, Creoles). Napoleon's invasion of Spain in 1808 marked the turning point, compelling Creole elites to form juntas that advocated independence. Also, the newly independent Haiti, the second oldest nation in the New World after the United States and the oldest independent nation in Latin America, further fueled the independence movement by inspiring the leaders of the movement, such as Simón Bolívar and José de San Martin, and by providing them with considerable munitions and troops.
Fighting soon broke out between the Juntas and the Spanish colonial authorities, with initial Creole victories, including Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in Mexico and Francisco de Miranda in Venezuela, crushed by the Spanish troops. Under the leadership of Simón Bolívar, José de San Martin and other Libertadores in South America, the independence movement regained strength, and by 1825, all Spanish Latin America, except for Puerto Rico and Cuba, gained independence from Spain. Brazil achieved independence with a constitutional monarchy established in 1822. During the same year in Mexico, a military officer, Agustín de Iturbide, led conservatives who created a constitutional monarchy, with Iturbide as emperor (followed by a republic, 1823).
The population of Latin America is a composite of ancestries, ethnic groups, and races, making the region one of the most – if not the most – diverse in the world. The specific composition varies from country to country: Some have a predominance of a mixed population; in others, Amerindians are a majority; some are dominated by inhabitants of European ancestry; and some countries' populations are primarily of African descent. Most or all Latin American countries have Asian minorities. Europeans are the largest single group, and they and people of part-European ancestry combine for approximately 80% of the population. In addition to the following groups, Latin America also has millions of triracial people of African, Amerindian, and European ancestry. Most are found in Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil, with a much smaller presence in a number of other countries.
The aboriginal population of Latin America, the Amerindians, experienced tremendous population decline, particularly in the early decades of colonization. They have since recovered in numbers, surpassing sixty million, though they compose a majority in only two countries: Bolivia and Peru. In both Ecuador and Guatemala, Amerindians are large minorities comprising two–fifths of the population, while the next largest minority is in Mexico, with more than one–sixth the population. Most of the remaining countries have Amerindian minorities, in every case making up one–tenth or less of the population. In many countries, people of mixed Amerindian and European ancestry make up the majority of the population (see Mestizo).
People of Asian descent number several million in Latin America. The first Asians to settle in the region were Filipino, as a result of Spain's trade involving Asia and the Americas. The majority of Asian Latin Americans are of Japanese or Chinese ancestry and reside mainly in Brazil and Peru. Brazil is home to 1.49 million people of Asian descent,  which includes the largest ethnic Japanese community outside of Japan itself, numbering 1.5 million. Peru, with 1.47 million people of Asian descent,  has one of the largest Chinese communities in the world, with nearly 1 million Peruvians being of Chinese ancestry. The Japanese community also maintains a strong presence in Peru, and a past President and a number of politicians are of Japanese descent in Peru. Indians, Koreans, and Vietnamese are also among the largest ethnic Asian communities in the region. In the Panama Canal zone there is also a Chinese minority, who are mostly the descendants of migrant workers who built the Panama Canal.
Millions of African slaves were brought to Latin America from the sixteenth century onward, the majority of whom were sent to the Caribbean region and Brazil. Today, people identified as black compose a majority in Haiti, significant minorities in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Brazil, Colombia, Belize, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Honduras, Panama and Puerto Rico, and small minorities in Guatemala, and Peru.
Intermixing between Europeans and Amerindians began early and was extensive. The resulting people, known as mestizos, make up the majority of the population in half of the countries of Latin America: Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, and Venezuela. Additionally, mestizos compose large minorities in nearly all the other mainland countries.
Mulattoes are biracial descendants of mixed European and African ancestry, mostly descended from Spanish or Portuguese settlers on one side and African slaves on the other during the colonial period. The vast majority of mulattoes are found in Brazil, and mulattoes form the majority in the Dominican Republic. Cuba and Colombia are the other countries with large numbers of mulattoes. There is also a small presence of mulattoes in other Latin American countries.
Beginning in the late fifteenth century, large numbers of Iberian colonists settled in what became Latin America — Portuguese in Brazil and Spaniards elsewhere in the region — and at present most white Latin Americans are of Spanish or Portuguese origin. Iberians brought the Spanish and Portuguese languages, the Catholic faith, and many Iberian traditions. In absolute numbers, Brazil has the largest population of whites in Latin America, followed by Argentina and Mexico (see White Latin American).
Millions of Europeans have immigrated to Latin America since most countries gained independence in the 1810s and 1820s, with most of the immigration occurring in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the bulk of the immigrants settling in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile.   Italians formed the largest group of immigrants, and next were Spaniards and Portuguese. Many others arrived, such as Germans, Greeks, Poles, Ukrainians, Russians, Jews, Irish, and Welsh.
Latin American countries attracted European immigrants to work in agriculture, commerce and industry. Many Latin American governments encouraged immigrants from Europe to 'civilize' the region. Despite their different origins, these immigrants integrated in the local societies and most of their descendants only speak Spanish or, in Brazil, Portuguese. For example, people of Italian descent make up half of Argentina's and Uruguay's populations, but only relatively small percentages of them are able to speak Italian. However, in Venezuela, where the population of Italian descent makes up about 400,000, about 1.5% of the total, there is still a tendency of the communities to preserve the language, as do Germans and Portuguese. Also there are some communities of Germans and In Brazil, which has the biggest population of Italians outside of Italy  (São Paulo city alone has more Italians than Rome, the most populous Italian city),  Italians in the country's predominantly white south still preserve their languages.
Immigration from the Middle East took place also since the 19th century and consisted largely of Christians of Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian origin. They have generally assimilated into the European-descended population.
Slaves often ran away (cimarrones) and were taken in by Amerindian villagers. Intermixing between Africans and Amerindians produced descendants known as Zambos or (in Central America) Garinagu. This was especially prevalent in Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil.
The following table shows the different racial groups and their percentages for all Latin American countries and territories. For some countries, like Chile and Costa Rica, the white and mestizo percentages are combined in some sources.
|Saint Pierre and Miquelon||7,036||100.0%|
See also: Indigenous languages of the Americas.
Spanish is the predominant language in the majority of Latin American countries. Portuguese is spoken primarily in Brazil, the most populous country in the region. French is spoken in some countries of the Caribbean, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and French Guiana and Haiti. Dutch is the official language of some Caribbean islands and in Suriname on the continent; however, as Dutch is a Germanic language, these territories are not considered part of Latin America.
Other European languages spoken in Latin America include: English, by some groups in Argentina, Belize, Nicaragua, Panama, and Puerto Rico; German, in southern Brazil, southern Chile, Argentina, and German-speaking villages in northern Venezuela and Paraguay; Italian, in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Venezuela; and Welsh, in southern Argentina.In several nations, especially in the Caribbean region, creole languages are spoken. The most widely spoken creole language in the Caribbean and Latin America in general is Haitian Creole, the predominant language of Haiti; it is derived primarily from French and certain West African tongues with some Amerindian and Spanish influences as well. Creole languages of mainland Latin America, similarly, are derived from European languages and various African tongues. Native American languages are widely spoken in Peru, Guatemala, Bolivia, Paraguay, and to a lesser degree, in Mexico, Ecuador, and Chile. In absolute numbers, Mexico contains the largest population of indigenous-language speakers of any country in the Americas, surpassing those of the Amerindian-majority countries of Guatemala, Bolivia and the Amerindian-plurality country of Peru. In Latin American countries not named above, the population of speakers of indigenous languages is small or non-existent.
In Peru, Quechua is an official language, alongside Spanish and any other indigenous language in the areas where they predominate. In Ecuador, while holding no official status, the closely related Quichua is a recognized language of the indigenous people under the country's constitution; however, it is only spoken by a few groups in the country's highlands. In Bolivia, Aymara, Quechua and Guaraní hold official status alongside Spanish. Guarani is, along with Spanish, an official language of Paraguay, and is spoken by a majority of the population (who are, for the most part, bilingual), and it is co-official with Spanish in the Argentine province of Corrientes. In Nicaragua, Spanish is the official language, but on the country's Caribbean coast English and indigenous languages such as Miskito, Sumo, and Rama also hold official status. Colombia recognizes all indigenous languages spoken within its territory as official, though fewer than 1% of its population are native speakers of these. Nahuatl is one of the 62 native languages spoken by indigenous people in Mexico, which are officially recognized by the government as "national languages" along with Spanish.
The vast majority of Latin Americans are Christians, mostly Roman Catholics. Membership in other religions, like the Protestant churches is increasing, particularly in countries such as Guatemala, Brazil, and Puerto Rico.
Also, indigenous creeds and rituals are still practiced in countries such as Bolivia, Guatemala, México and Perú. Various Afro-Latin American traditions such as Santería, Candomblé, Umbanda, Macumba, and tribal-voodoo religions are also practiced, mainly in Cuba, Brazil, and Haiti.
Brazil has an active quasi-socialist Roman Catholic movement known as Liberation Theology, and Brazil is also the country with more practitioners in the world of Allan Kardec's Spiritism. Practitioners of the Jewish, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu, and Bahá'í denominations and religions exist.
Due to economic, social and security developments that are affecting the region in recent decades, the focus is now the change from net immigration to net emigration. About 10 million Mexicans live in the United States. 28.3 million Americans listed their ancestry as Mexican as of 2006. According to the 2005 Colombian census or DANE, about 3,331,107 Colombians currently live abroad. The number of Brazilians living overseas is estimated at about 2 million people. An estimated 1.5 to two million Salvadorans reside in the United States. At least 1.5 million Ecuadorians have gone abroad, mainly to the United States and Spain. . Approximately 1.5 million Dominicans live abroad, mostly in the US. More than 1.3 million Cubans live abroad, most of them in the US. It is estimated that over 800,000 Chileans live abroad, mainly in Argentina. An estimated 700,000 Bolivians were living in Argentina as of 2006.
Remittances to Mexico rose from $6.6 billion to $24 billion between 2000 and 2006, but stabilized in 2007. Much of the reported increase between 2000 and 2006 may reflect better accounting, but the slowdown in 2007 may reflect tougher U.S. border and interior enforcement.
Inequality and poverty continue to be the region's main challenges; according to the ECLAC Latin America is the most unequal region in the world. Moreover, according to the World Bank, nearly 25% of the population lives on less than 2 USD a day. The countries with the highest inequality in the region (as measured with the Gini index in the UN Development Report) in 2006 were Bolivia (60.1), Haiti (59.2), Colombia (58.6), Paraguay (58.4), Brazil (57.0) and Panama (56.1), while the countries with the lowest inequality in the region were Nicaragua (43.1), Uruguay (44.9) and Mexico (46.1). One aspect of inequality and poverty in Latin America is unequal access to basic infrastructure. For example, access to water and sanitation in Latin America and the quality of these services remain low.
See also: Crime and Violence in Latin America.
Crime and violence prevention and public security have become key social issues of concern to public policy makers and citizens in the Latin American and Caribbean region. In Latin America, violence is now among the five main causes of death and is the principal cause of death in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico. Homicide rates in Latin America are among the highest of any region in the world. From the early 1980s through the mid-1990s, intentional homicide rates in Latin America increased by 50 percent. The major victims of such homicides are young men, 69 percent of whom are between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. Many analysts agree that the prison crisis will not be resolved until the gap between rich and poor is addressed. They say that growing social inequality is fuelling crime in the region. But there is also no doubt that, on such an approach, Latin American countries have still a long way to go. Countries with the highest homicide rate per year per 100,000 inhabitants were; El Salvador 55.3, Honduras 49.9, Venezuela 48, Guatemala 45.2, Colombia 37, Belize 30.8, Brazil 25.7, and Mexico 25. 
The major trade blocs or agreements in the region are the Union of South American Nations, composed of the integrated Mercosur and Andean Community of Nations (CAN). Minor blocs or trade agreements are the G3, the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). However, major reconfigurations are taking place along opposing approaches to integration and trade; Venezuela has officially withdrawn from both the CAN and G3 and it has been formally admitted into the Mercosur (pending ratification from the Brazilian and Paraguayan legislatures). The president-elect of Ecuador has manifested his intentions of following the same path. This bloc nominally opposes any Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States, although Uruguay has manifested its intention otherwise. On the other hand, Mexico is a member of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Chile has already signed an FTA with Canada, and along with Peru are the only two South American nations that have and FTA with the United States. Colombia's government currently awaiting its ratification by the US Senate.
According to Goldman Sachs BRIMC review of emerging economies, by 2050 the largest economies in the world will be as follows: China, USA, India, Japan, Brazil, and Mexico; Two of the top five economies in the world being from Latin America. 
The following table lists all the countries in Latin America indicating a valuation of the country's GDP (Gross domestic product) based on purchasing-power-parity (PPP), GDP per capita also adjusted to the (PPP), a measurement of inequality through the Gini index (the higher the index the more unequal the income distribution is), the Human Development Index (HDI), the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), and the Quality-of-life index. GDP and PPP GDP statistics come from the International Monetary Fund with data as of 2006. Gini index, the Human Poverty Index HDI-1, the Human Development Index, and the number of internet users per capita come from the UN Development Program. The number of motor vehicles per capita come from the UNData base on-line. The EPI index comes from the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Quality-of-life index from The Economist Intelligence Unit. Green cells indicate the 1st rank in each category, while yellow indicate the last rank.
|Country||GDP valuation based on|
The following table provides GDP figures for the largest Latin American cities and their surrounding urban areas in 2005. GDP figures are estimated and expressed in USD, using purchasing power parity exchange rates: 
|Rank||Metropolitan area||Country||GDP (Billions PPP)||Population (Millions)||GDP Per Capita (Thousands PPP))|
|4||Rio de Janeiro||141||11.5||$12,260|
Income from tourism aids development in Latin America. Mexico receives the largest number of tourists, with 21.4 million visitors in 2007, followed by Brazil, with 5.0 million; Argentina, with 4.6 million; and Puerto Rico, with 3.7 million.
Places such as Machu Pichu, Cartagena de Indias, Los Cabos, Acapulco, Rio de Janeiro, Cancún, São Paulo, Punta del Este, Santo Domingo, Labadee, San Juan, La Habana, Panama City, Iguazu Falls,Puerto Vallarta, Poás Volcano National Park, Viña del Mar, Mexico City, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Lima, and Patagonia are among the most visited places in the region.
See main article: Latin American culture.
The mosaic of Latin American cultural expressions is the product of many diverse influences:
See main article: Latin American literature.
See also: List of Latin American writers.
Pre-Columbian cultures were primarily oral, though the Aztecs and Mayans, for instance, produced elaborate codices. Oral accounts of mythological and religious beliefs were also sometimes recorded after the arrival of European colonizers, as was the case with the Popol Vuh. Moreover, a tradition of oral narrative survives to this day, for instance among the Quechua-speaking population of Peru and the Quiché of Guatemala.
From the very moment of Europe's "discovery" of the continent, early explorers and conquistadores produced written accounts and crónicas of their experience--such as Columbus's letters or Bernal Díaz del Castillo's description of the conquest of Mexico. During the colonial period, written culture was often in the hands of the church, within which context Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz wrote memorable poetry and philosophical essays. Towards the end of the 18th Century and the beginning of the 19th, a distinctive criollo literary tradition emerged, including the first novels such as Lizardi's El Periquillo Sarniento (1816).
The 19th Century was a period of "foundational fictions" (in critic Doris Sommer's words), novels in the Romantic or Naturalist traditions that attempted to establish a sense of national identity, and which often focussed on the indigenous question or the dichotomy of "civilization or barbarism" (for which see, say, Domingo Sarmiento's Facundo (1845), Juan León Mera's Cumandá (1879), or Euclides da Cunha's Os Sertões (1902)).
At the turn of the 20th century, modernismo emerged, a poetic movement whose founding text was Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío's Azul (1888). This was the first Latin American literary movement to influence literary culture outside of the region, and was also the first truly Latin American literature, in that national differences were no longer so much at issue. José Martí, for instance, though a Cuban patriot, also lived in Mexico and the U.S. and wrote for journals in Argentina and elsewhere.
However, what really put Latin American literature on the global map was no doubt the literary boom of the 1960s and 1970s, distinguished by daring and experimental novels (such as Julio Cortázar's Rayuela (1963)) that were frequently published in Spain and quickly translated into English. The Boom's defining novel was Gabriel García Márquez's Cien años de soledad (1967), which led to the association of Latin American literature with magic realism, though other important writers of the period such as the Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes do not fit so easily within this framework. Arguably, the Boom's culmination was Augusto Roa Bastos's monumental Yo, el supremo (1974). In the wake of the Boom, influential precursors such as Juan Rulfo, Alejo Carpentier, and above all Jorge Luis Borges were also rediscovered.
Contemporary literature in the region is vibrant and varied, ranging from the best-selling Paulo Coelho and Isabel Allende to the more avant-garde and critically acclaimed work of writers such as Diamela Eltit, Ricardo Piglia, or Roberto Bolaño. There has also been considerable attention paid to the genre of testimonio, texts produced in collaboration with subaltern subjects such as Rigoberta Menchú. Finally, a new breed of chroniclers is represented by the more journalistic Carlos Monsiváis and Pedro Lemebel.
The region boasts five Nobel Prizewinners: in addition to the two Chilean poets Gabriela Mistral (1945) and Pablo Neruda (1971), there is also the Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez (1982), the Guatemalan novelist Miguel Ángel Asturias (1967), and the Mexican poet and essayist Octavio Paz (1990).
See main article: Latin American art.
See also: List of Latin American artists. Beyond the rich tradition of indigenous art, the development of Latin American visual art owed much to the influence of Spanish, Portuguese and French Baroque painting, which in turn often followed the trends of the Italian Masters. In general, this artistic Eurocentrism began to fade in the early twentieth century, as Latin-Americans began to acknowledge the uniqueness of their condition and started to follow their own path.
From the early twentieth century, the art of Latin America was greatly inspired by the Constructivist Movement. The Constructivist Movement was founded in Russia around 1913 by Vladimir Tatlin. The Movement quickly spread from Russia to Europe and then into Latin America. Joaquin Torres Garcia and Manuel Rendón have been credited with bringing the Constructivist Movement into Latin America from Europe.
An important artistic movement generated in Latin America is Muralismo represented by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco and Rufino Tamayo in Mexico and Santiago Martinez Delgado and Pedro Nel Gómez in Colombia. Some of the most impressive Muralista works can be found in Mexico, Colombia, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
Mexican painter Frida Kahlo is one of the most known and famous Latin American artists. She painted about her own life and the Mexican culture in a style combining Realism, Symbolism and Surrealism. Kahlo's work commands the highest selling price of all Latin American paintings.
Colombian sculptor and painter Fernando Botero is also widely known by his works which, on first examination, are noted for their exaggerated proportions and the corpulence of the human and animal figures.
See also: Dance and music of Latin America.
Latin America has produced many successful worldwide artists in terms of recorded global music sales. The most successful have been Roberto Carlos who has sold over 100 million records, Carlos Santana with over 75 million, Luis Miguel, Shakira and Vicente Fernandez with over 50 million records sold worldwide.  One of the main characteristics of Latin American music is its diversity, from the lively rhythms of Central America and the Caribbean to the more austere sounds of the Andes and the Southern Cone. Another feature of Latin American music is its original blending of the variety of styles that arrived in The Americas and became influential, from the early Spanish and European Baroque to the different beats of the African rhythms.
Caribbean Hispanic music, such as merengue, bachata, salsa, and more recently reggaeton, from such countries as the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Panama has been strongly influenced by African rhythms and melodies. Haiti's compas is a genre of music that draws influence and is thus similar to its Caribbean Hispanic counterparts, with an element of jazz and modern sound as well. 
Another well-known Latin American musical genre includes the Argentine and Uruguayan tango, as well as the distinct nuevo tango, a fusion of tango, acoustic and electronic music popularized by bandoneón virtuoso Ástor Piazzolla. Equally renown, the samba, North American jazz, European classical music and choro combined to form bossa nova in Brazil, popularized by guitarrist João Gilberto and pianist Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Other influential Latin American sounds include the Antillean Soca and Calypso, the Central American (Garifuna) Punta, the Colombian cumbia and vallenato, the Chilean Cueca, the Ecuadorian Boleros, and Rockoleras, the Mexican ranchera, the Nicaraguan Palo de Mayo, the Peruvian Marinera and Tondero, the Uruguayan Candombe, the French Antillean Zouk(Derived from Haitian Compas) and the various styles of music from Pre-Columbian traditions that are widespread in the Andean region.The classical composer Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) worked on the recording of native musical traditions within his homeland of Brazil. The traditions of his homeland heavily influenced his classical works. Also notable is the recent work of the Cuban Leo Brouwer and guitar work of the Venezuelan Antonio Lauro and the Paraguayan Agustín Barrios. Latin America has also produced world-class classical performers such as the Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau, Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire and the Argentine pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim.
Arguably, the main contribution to music entered through folklore, where the true soul of the Latin American and Caribbean countries is expressed. Musicians such as Yma Súmac, Chabuca Granda, Atahualpa Yupanqui, Violeta Parra, Victor Jara, Mercedes Sosa, Jorge Negrete, Luiz Gonzaga, Caetano Veloso, Susana Baca, Chavela Vargas, Simon Diaz, Julio Jaramillo, Toto la Momposina as well as musical ensembles such as Inti Illimani and Los Kjarkas are magnificent examples of the heights that this soul can reach.
More recently, Reggaeton, which blends Jamaican reggae and dancehall with Latin America genres such as bomba and plena, as well as that of hip hop, is becoming more popular, in spite of the controversy surrounding its lyrics, dance steps (Perreo) and music videos. It has become very popular among populations with a "migrant culture" influence - both Latino populations in the U.S., such as southern Florida and New York City, and parts of Latin America where migration to the U.S. is common, such as Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Mexico.
See main article: Latin American cinema. Latin American film is both rich and diverse. Historically, the main centers of production have been México, Brazil, Cuba, and Argentina.
Latin American cinema flourished after the introduction of sound, which added a linguistic barrier to the export of Hollywood film south of the border. The 1950s and 1960s saw a movement towards Third Cinema, led by the Argentine filmmakers Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino. More recently, a new style of directing and stories filmed has been tagged as "New Latin American Cinema."
Argentine cinema has been prominenent since the first half of the 20th century and today averages over 60 full-length titles yearly. The industry suffered during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship; but re-emerged to produce the Academy Award winner The Official Story in 1985. A wave of imported U.S. films again damaged the industry in the early 1990s, though it soon recovered, thriving even during the Argentine economic crisis around 2001. Many Argentine movies produced during recent years have been internationally acclaimed, including Nueve reinas (2000), El abrazo partido (2004) and El otro (2007).
In Brazil, the Cinema Novo movement created a particular way of making movies with critical and intellectual screenplays, a clearer photography related to the light of the outdoors in a tropical landscape, and a political message. The modern Brazilian film industry has become more profitable inside the country, and some of its productions have received prizes and recognition in Europe and the United States, with movies such as Central do Brasil (1999), Cidade de Deus (2003) and Tropa de Elite (2007).
Mexican cinema in the Golden Era of the 1940s boasted a huge industry comparable to Hollywood at the time. Stars included María Félix, Dolores del Rio and Pedro Infante. In the 1970s Mexico was the location for many cult horror and action movies. More recently, films such as Amores Perros (2000) and Y tu mamá también (2001) enjoyed box office and critical acclaim and propelled Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñarritu to the front rank of Hollywood directors. Alejandro González Iñárritu directed in (2006) Babel and Alfonso Cuarón directed (Children of Men in (2006), and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in (2004)). Guillermo del Toro close friend and also a front rank Hollywood director in Hollywood and Spain, directed Pan's Labyrinth (2006) and produce El Orfanato (2007). Carlos Carrera (The Crime of Father Amaro), and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga are also some of the most known present-day Mexican film makers.
It is also worth noting that many Latin Americans have achieved significant success within Hollywood, for instance Carmen Miranda and Salma Hayek, while Mexican Americans such as Robert Rodriguez have also made their mark.