From Tijuana to Patagonia, Latin America is an amazing continent whose richness of culture is evidenced by its Spanish and Portuguese languages, fervent Catholic faith, sexy latin dance, and delicious corn-based gastronomy. The diversity of a region that has been historically impacted by European, Middle East and Asian migration is visible in its language, music and politics.

Cultural influences on Latin relationships include familial structures that prioritize family coping strategies, a sense of personal autonomy and self-reliance and, most importantly, an emotional openness characterized by high levels of expressiveness. This is an important distinction from Western cultures that typically rely on formal structures to deal with stress, while Latino families tend to be more interdependent and receptive to influence (Bergers & Lewontin, 2002).

A significant cultural feature in Latin America is personalismo, a concept that promotes warmth, closeness, and empathy in one’s relationship with others. This value also translates into a spiritual experience that emphasizes an active and direct relationship with a Latino’s conception of God or the universe.

19th- and 20th-century immigration from Europe, Africa and Asia radically transformed the culture of Latin American countries. People with mixed ancestry, known as mestizos, now make up the majority of the population in Brazil (especially the southeastern and southern regions), Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Peru and other Latin American nations. In addition, immigrants from the Middle East and Asia, including Indians, Lebanese and Armenians, as well as Chinese, Korean and Japanese (who arrived as slaves in the “coolie” trade) have influenced a variety of cultural aspects in Latin America.

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