It often comes as a surprise to most Americans that Latin Americans generally resent that in the United States people think of themselves as uniquely American—as if the rest of the continent somehow has another name. Latin America is, in fact, a name created by the French, supported by local elites, that invaded Mexico to collect foreign debt and to try to re-establish European colonialism. The Latin heritage, being a common one between Maximilian’s new court and the Mexican people, gave the region its appellative, but a tarnished one. That is why José Martí, the hero of Cuban independence, referred to “Our America,” to contrast it with the other, the one Americans fancy as the only one.
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