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Mexico has the second-largest economy in Latin America, and is a major oil producer and exporter. It borders the United States in the north, and Guatemala and Belize in the south.
Venezuela has some of the largest proven oil deposits in the world, and has benefited from the historically high international oil prices. However, its vulnerability is that its economic fortunes are tied to world oil prices.
Brazil is the largest country in South America, with the majority of the Amazon rainforest in its territory. It has one of the largest economies in the world, which has allowed it to pursue greater influence in international affairs.
Cuba has faced a U.S. economic embargo for 55 years. Since the collapse of the USSR and Soviet aid, it as made some tentative moves towards economic liberalisation.
Argentina stretches from its sub-tropical north to the sub-Antarctic south. After its deep economic recession in 2001, the country has faced great internal challenges such as poverty and debt restructure.