Go to home page

This article appears in the September 8, 2023 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this article]

Why Use the Term ‘Ibero-America’

“The use of the term ‘Ibero-America,’ in place of ‘Latin America,’ is the only correct one,” comments Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. “In the first place, the official languages of the region to the south of the Rio Bravo are dialects of Spanish and Portuguese. In the second place, Spanish and Portuguese derive from Italian, not from Latin. The myth that Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese were dialects of Latin roots, is an invention of the early nineteenth century, political propaganda against the Italian nationalist movement. The fraud that Italian derives from Latin was invented in the first decade of the 1900s, to attack the work of the philologists Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt and their Italian collaborators.

“In the third place, Italian is as ancient, at least, as Latin, and much more ancient than the Latin of ancient Latin literature. The Romans, while conquering the other peoples of Latin speech, conquered one by one the other peoples of Italy, the majority of which did not speak Latin but the Italian language, which was as perfected as the former and more broadly diffused. Moreover, the majority of the Roman soldiers, for example, spoke Italian as their native language. As a result of this, approximately 90% of the French population of the fourteenth century spoke Italian and not courtly French, which was introduced as an artificial dialect to the French royal court at the beginning of the seventeenth century.

“To use the term ‘Ibero-America’ is obligatory not only for reasons of philological rigor; the distinction between the terms ‘Latin America’ and ‘Ibero-America’ has a profound practical importance in politics and culture. Present-day Ibero-American culture is a product, fundamentally, of three political-cultural elements: a) the Augustinian influence in the peninsula which culminated in the period of Alfonso the Wise; b) the influence of the Italian Golden Renaissance, of the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries; and c) the participation of outstanding forces of Spain, Portugal, and Ibero-America in the Transatlantic movement led by Benjamin Franklin between 1766 and 1789, and later by the Marquis Gilbert de Lafayette. Except for the influence of the American System of political economy and the model of the United States Constitution of 1787–89 in Ibero-American politics, the dominant cultural traits of the Spanish-speakers and Portuguese-speakers of America are Iberic, Italian, and German influences—let us say, that of Humboldt—opposed to that of the House of Austria.

“Finally, if the Augustinian Church of Western Europe did much to transform the Latin of the Roman Empire into an illustrious language, such that the medieval Latin of theology and philosophy was much more capable of expressing profound ideas than ancient Latin, the political movements to create sovereign and republican nation-states, starting from the work of Dante Alighieri (for example: De Monarchia; or the Concordantia Catholica of Cardinal Nicolaus of Cusa) were dedicated to completing the plan of Dante to elevate the quality and the political category of the national vernacular tongues, as is exemplified in the role played by the Commedia of Dante in the elevation of Literary Italian to the profound capacity of conception of Plato’s classical Greek.

“This was the historical basis of the great movements for the founding of republics, which were unleashed in the majority of the Spanish speaking and Portuguese speaking portions of the hemisphere in the era of the Napoleonic war. It is to these historical foundations which all the great political movements of the hemisphere must today return, as well as to the notions of the American Revolution of 1776–89 and the Ibero-American revolutions, to encounter a common political-cultural basis for their mutual relations and their common actions.” [back to text]

Back to top    Go to home page