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Chapter 6: International etiquette. Central and South America.

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Pre-reading exercises:

  1. What are the countries of Central America? How many of them can you name? how many countries does Central America include?
  2. What are the countries of South America? How many of them can you name?
  3. Do you know which countries Latin America include? What’s the official language of Latin America? Does Latin America cover the territories of the countries of Central and South America?
  4. Here is some information about a writer. Read it and say whether his works relate somehow to the countries of Caribbean basin. Stevenson Robert Louis (Balfour) (1850-94), Scottish novelist, poet, and travel writer. Stevenson made his name with the adventure story Treasure Island (1883). Other notable works: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Kidnapped (both 1886)

5. It is necessary to know: Caribbean Basin Initiative CBI; Карибская инициатива Политико-экономическая программа; касалась стран Карибского бассейна. Выдвинута администрацией Р. Рейгана [Reagan, Ronald Wilson] в 1982 в целях предотвращения дальнейшего распространения идей социальной революции и влияния Кубы в регионе (программа американских стран по экономической помощи развивающимся странам карибского региона)

6. Start filling in the blanks of the table below, and finish it after reading all the “Necessary historical and geographical facts” given further on.

Central America countries & their capitals South America countries & their capitals Latin America countries & their capitals Caribbean basin islands & their capitals

7.Which of the countries coincide in some columns? How many of them? Why?

8.Using the map, show the countries of Central and South America (Latin America) and prove that the American culture and Latino American culture are two different phenomena. Try to find a decent explanation to this fact.

Necessary historical and geographical facts before reading.

1. Central America the southern most part of North America, linking the continent to South America and consisting of the countries of Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama

  1. Guatemala [ˌgwɑːtə'mɑːlə] a country in Central America, bordering on the Pacific Ocean and with a short coastline on the Caribbean Sea; pop. 13,314,079 (est. 2002); official language, Spanish; capital, Guatemala City. A former centre of Mayan civilization, Guatemala was conquered by the Spanish in 1523-4. After independence it formed the core of the short-lived United Provinces of Central America (1828-38) before becoming an independent republic in its own right
  2. Belize [bɛ'liːz] a country on the Caribbean coast of Central America; pop. 262,999 (est. 2002); languages, English (official), Creole, Spanish; capital, Belmopan. Former name (until 1973) British Honduras. Origin: named after a river with a Mayan name meaning ‘muddy water’ •• Proclaimed as a British Crown Colony in 1862, Belize became an independent Commonwealth state in 1981. Guatemala, which bounds it on the west and south, has always claimed the territory on the basis of old Spanish treaties, although in 1992 it agreed to recognize the existence of Belize
  3. Honduras [hɒn'djʊərəs] a country of Central America, bordering on the Caribbean Sea and with a short coastline on the Pacific Ocean; pop. 6,560,608 (est. 2002); official language, Spanish; capital, Tegucigalpa. Honduras was at the southern limit of the Mayan empire. It was encountered by Columbus in 1502, and became a Spanish colony. In 1821 Honduras became an independent republic, and was part of the United Provinces of Central America between 1823 and 1838
  4. El Salvador [el 'salvəˌdôr; ˌ-a country in western Central America, on the Pacific coast; pop. 6,587,000; capital, San Salvador; official language, Spanish Encyclopedic information: The territory was conquered by the Spanish in 1524 and gained its independence in 1821. Between 1979 and 1992 El Salvador was devastated by a civil war that was marked by the activities of right-wing death squads and resistance by left-wing guerrillas. A UN-brokered peace accord was agreed upon in 1992
  5. guerilla [gə'rɪlə] 1) = guerilla war партизанская война armed guerilla — вооруженная партизанская война guerilla band — отряд партизан
  6. Nicaragua [ˌnɪkə'ragjʊə, -'ragwə] the largest country in Central America, with a coastline on both the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean; pop. 5,023,818 (est. 2002); official language, Spanish; capital, Managua • Colonized by the Spaniards, Nicaragua broke away from Spain in 1821 and, after brief membership of the United Provinces of Central America, became an independent republic in 1838. In 1979 the dictator Anastasio Somoza was overthrown by a popular revolution; the new left-wing Sandinista regime then faced a counter-revolutionary guerrilla campaign by the US-backed Contras. In the 1990 election the Sandinistas lost power to an opposition coalition
  7. Costa Rica ['riːkə] a republic in Central America on the Isthmus of Panama; pop. 3,834,934 (est. 2002); official language, Spanish; capital, San José Derivatives: Costa Rican & Origin: Spanish, literally ‘rich coast’ •• Colonized by Spain in the early 16th century, Costa Rica achieved independence in 1823 and emerged as a separate country in 1838 after fourteen years within the United Provinces of Central America
  8. Panama ['panəmɑː, ˌpanə'mɑː] a country in Central America; pop. 2,882,329 (est. 2002); official language, Spanish; capital, Panama City • Panama occupies the isthmus connecting North and South America. Colonized by Spain in the early 16th century, Panama was freed from imperial control in 1821, becoming a Colombian province. It gained full independence in 1903, although the construction of the Panama Canal and the leasing of the zone around it to the US (until 1979) split the country in two; the canal itself was ceded to Panama in 1999

10. South America -a continent that comprises the southern half of the American landmass, connected to North America by the Isthmus of Panama. It includes the Falkland Islands, the Galapagos Islands, and Tierra del Fuego


  1. Falkland Islands ['fôklənd] - a group of more than 100 islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, a British colony, about 300 miles (500 km) east of the Strait of Magellan; pop. 2,121; capital, Stanley (on East Falkland). They were occupied and colonized by Britain in 1832 - 33, following the expulsion of an Argentine garrison. Argentina has contested British sovereignty and continues to refer to the islands by their old Spanish name, the Malvinas. In 1982, an Argentine invasion led to the Falklands War, which ended in a successful British reoccupation
  2. Galapagos Islands [gə'läpəgəs;] -a Pacific Ocean archipelago [ˌɑːkɪ'pɛləgəʊ] on the equator, about 650 miles (1,045 km) west of Ecuador, to which it belongs; pop. 9,750. Noted for giant tortoises and many other endemic species, they were the site of Charles Darwin's 1835 observations, which helped him to form his theory of natural selection. Spanish name Archipiélago de Colón
  3. Tierra del Fuego [tɪˌɛːrə dɛl 'fweɪgəʊ] an island at the southern extremity of South America, separated from the mainland by the Strait of Magellan. Discovered by Ferdinand Magellan in 1520, it is now divided between Argentina and Chile Origin: Spanish, literally ‘land of fire’
  4. Chile ['tʃɪli] Spanish ['tʃile] a country occupying a long coastal strip down the southern half of the west of South America; pop. 15,498,930 (est. 2002); official language, Spanish; capital, Santiago • Most of Chile was part of the Inca empire and became part of Spanish Peru after Pizarro's conquest. Independence was achieved in 1818 with help from Argentina. After the overthrow of the Marxist democrat Salvador Allende in 1973, Chile was ruled by the right-wing military dictatorship of General Pinochet until a democratically elected President took office in 1990
  5. Venezuela[ˌvɛnɪ'zweɪlə] Spanish [bene'swela, -θwela] a republic on the north coast of South America, with a coastline on the Caribbean Sea; pop. 24,287,670 (est. 2002); official language, Spanish; capital, Caracas Origin: Spanish, literally ‘little Venice’, named by early explorers when they saw native houses built on stilts over water •• Colonized by the Spanish in the 16th century, Venezuela won its independence in 1821 after a ten-year struggle, but did not finally emerge as a separate nation until its secession from federation with Colombia (1830). It is a major oil-exporting country, with the industry based on the area around Lake Maracaibo in the north-west
  6. stilt [stɪlt] 1. 1) (stilts) ходули to walk on stilts — ходить на ходулях 2) свая; стойка a restaurant built on stilts— ресторан, построенный на сваях
  7. Caribbean Sea - the part of the Atlantic Ocean lying between the Antilles and the mainland of Central and South America
  8. mainland ['meɪnlənd ], континент, материк, mainland China — материковый Китай (в отличие от Тайваня), большой остров (среди группы небольших) -a large continuous extent of land that includes the greater part of a country or territory, as opposed to offshore islands and detached territories .You can refer to the largest part of a country or continent as the mainland when contrasting it with the islands around it.
  9. Antilles [an'tilēz] An·til·les a group of islands that form the greater part of the West Indies. The Greater Antilles extend roughly east to west and are comprised of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and Puerto Rico; the Lesser Antilles, to the southeast, include the Virgin, Leeward, and Windward islands, as well as various small islands to the north of Venezuela.
  10. Netherlands Antilles two widely separated groups of Dutch islands in the Caribbean Sea, in the Lesser Antilles; capital, Willemstad, on Curaçao; pop. 189,000. The southernmost group, situated just off the north coast of Venezuela, consists of the islands of Bonaire and Curaçao. The northern group comprises the islands of St. Eustatius, St. Martin, and Saba. In 1954, the islands were granted self-government and became an autonomous region of the Netherlands
  11. Argentina [ˌɑːdʒən'tiːnə] a republic occupying much of the southern part of South America; pop. 37,812,817 (est. 2002); official language, Spanish; capital, Buenos Aires. Also called the Argentine ['ɑːdʒənˌtʌɪn, -ˌtiːn] Derivatives: Argentine & Argentinian & •• Colonized by the Spanish in the 16th century, Argentina declared its independence in 1816. It emerged as a democratic republic in the mid 19th century, but has periodically fallen under military rule. Having long claimed the Falkland Islands, Argentina invaded them in 1982 but was defeated and expelled by British forces

  1. Latin America the parts of the American continent where Spanish or Portuguese is the main national language (i.e. Mexico and, in effect, the whole of Central and South America including many of the Caribbean islands)

  1. siesta [sɪ'ɛstə] an afternoon rest or nap, especially one taken during the hottest hours of the day in a hot climate Origin: mid 17th cent.: Spanish, from Latin sexta (hora) ‘sixth hour’
  2. Cuba ['kjuːbə] a Caribbean country, the largest and furthest west of the islands of the West Indies, situated at the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico; pop. 11,224,321 (est. 2002); official language, Spanish; capital, Havana • A Spanish colony, Cuba became nominally independent after the Spanish-American War of 1898, achieving full autonomy in 1934. Since a communist revolution in 1959, it has been under the presidency of Fidel Castro. The country has suffered under a US trade embargo, and since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc has lost much of its trade


Although specific customs may vary in Venezuela or Argentina, it is necessary to point out certain generalizations for all these countries, generalizations that any businessman should keep in mind when doing business. For example those in Central and South America have a different idea of what is appropriate “personal space” or distance from another person. They will tend to stand closer while speaking, and that is perfectly correct. (If you pull or step back it will be seen as impolite)

As in Japan, business cards should be printed in both English and the local language.

It is acceptable to be thirty minutes late.

Lunch is the main meal of the day throughout Latin America, often followed by a siesta (nap).

Gift giving is customary; perfume for women and men’s accessories for men are appropriate gifts.

Sociable is one way to describe those of Central and South America. It is not uncommon for a business meal to last hours.


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